Utah congressmen unveil draft of public lands plan

By Michelle L. Price, Associated Press

Utah congressmen have unveiled a draft of their plan to protect 4 million acres of Utah land in exchange for freeing up more than 1 million acres for recreation and oil and gas development.

Rob Bishop, left, R-Utah, holds an image he says is misleading and was created by critics of his public lands proposal while speaking during a news conference, as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, center, R-Utah, and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, right, looks on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. The two Utah congressman have unveiled a draft of their plan to protect 4 million acres of Utah land in exchange for freeing up more than 1 million acres for recreation and oil and gas development. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two Utah congressmen have unveiled a draft of their plan to protect 4 million acres of Utah land in exchange for freeing up more than 1 million acres for recreation and oil and gas development.

Republican Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz say they held more than a thousand meetings with various stakeholders in recent years to come up with their public lands initiative. They say environmentalists, recreationists, ranchers and energy companies will all find things they like and dislike in the proposal.

But conservation groups and Democrats say the proposal favors energy development over protecting land.

The proposal creates a "Jurassic National Monument" at a large collection of dinosaur fossils in central Utah but seeks to guarantee that a president can't use broad authority to designate a new monument in the seven counties covered by the proposal.

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