Congressman Bishop Corners Market on Hypocrisy

Many Utahns are in an uproar over a letter sent by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) asking President Obama to designate the Greater Canyonlands area as a national monument.

Few have been more indignant than Congressman Rob Bishop. In a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Bishop expressed dismay that the OIA would try to circumvent public input by appealing directly to the President.

“This is clearly a process that’s trying to do an end run around what is good for Utah.”

Bishop continued:

“If there was ever a poster child for why Utah needs to have a greater voice in its future…this kind of proposal is it.”

Open, transparent discussions are key to Utah’s environmental policies. But Bishop hasn’t always been in favor of transparency and openness. In fact, when it comes to skipping out on public input regarding management of Utah’s lands, Bishop has led the way. He’s been actively giving Utahns the run around over the pending SkiLink transit system.

SkiLink is a proposed gondola that would transport skiers from the Canyons Resort in Park City to the Solitude ski resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The proposed transit system has come under fire not only for its environmental impact–its unclear the effect it would have on the watershed and natural habitat–but for circumventing public input. At the head of the charge to exclude the public has been Congressman Bishop.

Bishop is the lead sponsor of a piece of legislation, currently working its way through the United States Congress, that would allow the transfer of 30 acres of public lands into private hands so they can be developed for the construction of SkiLink. In doing so, Bishop has systematically ignored public input from residents of the Salt Lake Valley, including numerous concerned citizens groups and elected leaders.

What explains Bishop’s sudden interest in public processes? Whether political expediency or personal benefit, Bishop certainly has a corner on hypocrisy.

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