By: Savannah Smith | 02-08-2018 | News
Photo credit: The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Republican Introduces Bill Assigning Environmentalists As 'Liars'

Arguing that certain environmental organizations are not always telling the truth, a Utah Republican lawmaker required an environmentalist take an oath before the guest could sit and talk to the Utah House Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture, and the Environment. Some Democrat lawmakers took offense for the guest could not overturn the said demand.

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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:11px;"> Willie Grayeyes Photo by : The Wall Street Journal </span>

Public lands bill were under consideration at that time and its sponsor, Representative Mike Noel of Kanab, insists the oath was necessary for Utah Dine Bikeyah chairman Willie Grayeyes, a leading proponent of the Bears Ears National Monument, the only witness to speak against the bill. Although it’s rarely invoked, swearing in witnesses is a power granted to legislative committee chairs and the committees themselves.

Noel said: "We know that these issues surround certain environmental organizations that do not have a good track record of telling the truth.”

The bill aimed at regulating how the city and other government officials in Utah advocate for federal protections of public lands. It also sought to prevent officials from publicly supporting land protections, but the measure was amended Tuesday to instead require them to consult the Legislature’s Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee for feedback before proceeding.

If the bill passes, there are those who caution that the measure could hamper the Mountain Accord, aimed at resolving the long-standing land-use controversy on the Wasatch Front. Noel, argues, however, that the state should oversee lobbying by local officials and agencies — including universities — when it comes to a national monument and other designations by the U.S. government.

Noel also hinted of his distrust of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and suggested the chair of Native American group Dine Bikeyah who testified before the committee was backed by SUWA. In its list of major donors online, Dine Bikeyah did not include SUWA.

While Democratic committee members took offense for him, Grayeyes chose to focus on his concern that Tribes and other Native American groups were not consulted on Noel's legislation.


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