The Representative from Utah, Jason Chaffetz, has been busy in this 115th Congress. He has introduced bills to sell off 3.3 million acres of public land and is now introducing a bill that would hand over law enforcement over to local sheriff departments and eliminate federal law enforcement on public lands. For a guy who is always posting outdoorsmen-type selfies on Twitter and covering his main website with breathtaking photographs of our National Parks, he is sure working hard to undermine our land.
As mentioned above, Chaffetz introduced a bill that identified 3.3 million acres of public land spanning over 10 states, for auction. H.R. 621 has now been dropped. After a week of intense objection by the public, the Congressman from Utah has announced he will pull back H.R. 621 from House consideration. While this in itself is a victory for us, we must keep a watch on this guy.
For instance, his other bill, which is still live, H.R. 622 – Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act, gives the Bundy armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge one of their wish list items. The bill would hand over all law enforcement powers to local sheriffs. This is an obvious non-starter for anyone who is familiar with local budgets. There is no question that local sheriffs simply do not have the resources to adequately safeguard and monitor our public lands in addition to their current duties. This bill is particularly troubling because violent extremism has been on the rise on public lands as members of the ‘Federal Government doesn’t Exist’ crowd takes it upon themselves to hold our public lands hostage.
What’s more troubling is the fact that Congress won’t hold a single hearing on the matter. The passage of H.R. 622 would further exacerbate this evolving situation.
My hope is that the Congressman from Utah will recognize the folly of this latest bill. Everyone deserves to visit their National Parks and Wildlife Refuges peacefully and safely. Call your Congressman and tell them to kill H.R. 622.