The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), said in an interview that “it certainly is not our intention” to seek exemptions beyond those listed in his bill. Those include services related rafting, boating, zip lines, camping, horseback riding, bicycling, hiking, hunting, fishing and skiing on federal lands by private operators.
Without an exemption, the $10.10 wage would be “a big hit to our bottom line,” Brian Merrill, chief executive of Western River Expeditions in Salt Lake City, said by phone. His company runs trips on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The executive order, he added, would cause his company to make a “choice between altering the quality of the trip or raising the price of it.”
Stewart pushed his bill at a House Oversight and Government Reform interior subcommittee hearing last week. He argued then that the executive order covers outdoor recreation companies whose “only connection to the federal government is a permit to operate on federal lands. That permit is a pretty tenuous link.”