HOUSE MOVES FORWARD ON BILLS TO PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS
Washington, D.C., June 21, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources favorably reported two of Rep. John Curtis’ (UT-03) bills to better manage federal lands. The first would withdraw a rule of the Bureau of Land Management that would restrict access to public lands for grazing and recreation. The second would require the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to issue guidance on managing recreational climbing in designated wilderness areas.
Following the committee action, Congressman Curtis issued the following statements:
On the BLM Rule (H.R. 3397):
“For decades and decades and decades, Utahns have cared for and protected its public lands. This rule undermines the work of real conservationists, like farmers and ranchers who have kept the land in good health for generations. I question why the BLM wants the ability to act without Congress, without the same public process that's been agreed upon and respected over the years. I ask my colleagues to consider these points, understand what it is that we're trying to accomplish, and vote to withdraw this rule.”
On the PARC Act (H.R. 1380):
“Having experienced the countless rock-climbing opportunities in my district firsthand, I understand the importance of providing clear guidance for climbers. For decades, climbing has been a valid use on public lands, yet there has been a lack of clarity on this issue, leading to uncertainty. My legislation guarantees access to our public lands by affirming that climbing is an allowable use in the National Wilderness Preservation System, maintaining the longstanding precedent."
“H.R. 3397 and H.R. 1380 are essential bills that will continue the Natural Resources Committee’s goal of ending burdensome regulations handed down from unelected bureaucrats in D.C. We just heard testimony from several western governors last week about how the BLM’s disastrous proposed rule would upend the way of life for hundreds of thousands of Americans living in rural areas, and Congressman Curtis’s legislation would prevent this rule from being implemented. On top of this, rock climbing is a treasured recreational activity for millions of Americans, and I am pleased to support legislation that will protect this vital use of our public lands from Arkansas to Utah. I am proud to support these efforts to stop the Biden administration's erroneous regulations,” said Chairman Westerman.
The Bureau of Land Management's proposal changes how the agency considers conservation programs on public lands and undermines the Federal Land Policy and Management Act’s (FLPMA) multiple-use requirement for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, hindering access to public lands for energy and critical mineral development, grazing, forest management, and recreation.
The PARC Act would establish consistency between federal agencies and support sustainable wilderness management by making clear that climbing and the use, placement, and replacement of climbing anchors are an appropriate activity within America’s wilderness areas, subject to reasonable rules and regulations to protect wilderness character. The PARC Act does not dictate how each agency should allow fixed anchors but prevents land management agencies from formalizing policies that currently propose to fundamentally prohibit fixed anchors as illegal installations.