Rep. Rob Bishop is blasting environmental groups who say President Donald Trump reduced two national monuments in Utah in order to open up those areas for energy exploration, calling their opposition a “false narrative.”
The Washington Examiner interviewed Bishop, who says opponents of President Trump’s decision to reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments are mischaracterizing the move.
“The reality is this was never about conservation versus development. Interest groups who claim to be environmentalists are always making pictures of oil rigs and oil wells drilling on these areas. That is a false narrative and it’s a fake issue. We are taking that narrative off the table and we are simply saying it’s a lie.”
Bishop points to legislation authored by Utah Rep. John Curtis that bars mining and drilling in the Bears Ears areas opened up by Trump’s decision, as well as those still protected by monument status.
There is no oil and gas in the area to drill,” Bishop said. “In that Bears Ears area, there is no development possibilities that are down there. So one of the reasons we are extending the mineral extraction moratorium that was originally part of the presidential proclamation and putting into the statute is to illustrate the point that this is not about industry development. It’s not about oil or gas or drilling or mining or anything like that.”
Bishop has also been involved in a public spat with outdoor retailing company Patagonia, whose owner has filed a lawsuit against Trump’s monument changes.
“It is bizarre to me why this has become as controversial as it is, the entire thing about creating national monuments,” Bishop said. “The premise has to be there can be economic development, but it can’t take away from environmental concerns or preservation. That’s why the entire PR campaign against what the president and we are trying to do in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase is so galling. Because they are trying to say you can either have preservation or you can have development, you can’t have both. That once again is a lie. I am not saying Patagonia is lying, but they are.”