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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

Compromise, solutions sought in energy and public lands debate

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Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid all the contentious strife over energy development, access to Utah lands and the federal government, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is trying to broker a solution that strikes at compromise.

Why not agree that some lands are worth preserving, grant them protections and in turn get “resource” rich lands that are marked for development?

“One of the things I am trying to accomplish is that we quit fighting over all these lands,” he said. “There are lands in Utah that are deserving of conservation status. There are also lands that should be developed for their energy.”

The Public Lands Initiative — which has its grounding in themes of collaboration, compromise and creativity — seeks to solidify land use designations by starting at the “ground up” and gathering input from thousands of Utah residents and groups.

While the Transfer of Public Lands effort is about “ownership,” the initiative that also began in 2012 is more about management — both by counties and the state, Bishop said.

“We have examples of land outside of Moab where the county manages Bureau of Land Management land and they do it brilliantly. … The state can manage wilderness areas far better than the federal government.”

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