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State & Regional

Bishop Claims Bipartisan Cooperation On Natural Resources Committee

National Park Service

KPCW recently talked with Congressman Rob Bishop from Utah’s first district. He talks about the work he’s done as chair of the Natural Resources Committee for the past four years and his views on what he hopes will happen during his final term in Congress. He is not planning to seek re-election in 2020. Carolyn Murray has this:

District 1 Congressman Rob Bishop has chaired the Natural Resources Committee for the past four years. With the Democrats in control of congress, AZ Congressman, Raul Grijalva will step into the lead role. Bishop remains the ranking republican on the committee and he said they’ve worked across the aisle to pass bills that don’t get a lot of attention from the media.

"There are a whole lot of issues that will probably never receive any attention, either on your radio station or anywhere in the media. We passed more bills in my committee than any other committee has passed in the last 25 years. And, almost a quarter of those were Democrat bills or Democrat sponsored bills.  And, there’s a lot of very localized pieces of legislation. When the American Government owns a third of all the American land, there’re a whole bunch of localized, specific bills that need to be done in certain areas. Many of those will be Democrat bills. Many of those will be Republican bills. And they will go through without getting very much attention or media spotlight. And, that’s one of the good parts of the Resource Committee is that’s the tradition we have always had. There’s been a lot of bipartisan work a lot of minority bills get passed. I expect to see that happen in the future as well."

Bishop said last year, he and Grijalva co-sponsored a bill funding the Park Maintenance backlog.

“It was an innovative way of actually solving the problem of Maintenance in our parks without raising taxes. By using royalties that are done on public lands and public waters, from any kind of energy production. But it was set at, capped at least a billion and a half dollars for the next five years. We could obviously go above that if we need to. But that was the first step to try to funnel in some money to try to fit in the maintenance backlog, not only in the National Parks, but also on BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Reserves as well as Native American Education needs.

Devastating forest fires and longer more severe droughts are areas which require a different approach to land and resource management. He said sometimes lawmakers disagree on what the approach should be.

“You’ve seen horrific forest fires over the past couple of years, in the west.  Everyone is in agreement that we have to maintain some element to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future. The details get sometimes contentious. But, the basic core element that we shouldn’t have subject to people or land that kind of horrific fires, that we’ve had. That’s a common concern. Also, it is significant that if you are going into longer drought cycles, then you have to change the management practices. I think that was one of the core elements in our efforts to have the forest resiliency bill over the last two years. We’ve been able to get some of it put into law. We need all of it put into law.”

Bishop is not running for another term in 2020.  He said he is not planning to get involved in tapping anyone to run for his replacement.

“When I became Chairman of the Committee on Resources, I realized that gave me a unique opportunity to serve the state of Utah. And, that gave me a six year, because we are limited in house, Republicans to six years being Chairman and that would be a good time for me to voluntarily to leave at the end of that time. And, that’s why 2020 is going to be my last time. I probably won’t be ready to go but I think it’s important that I don’t die here and set some time limit for myself.”

That’s Congressman Rob Bishop who represents Utah’s District 1 which includes Summit County.

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