Skip to Content

Press Releases

To sign up for press releases and other updates from Rep. Curtis, please fill out this form:


Today, the U.S House of Representatives passed the Western Economic Security Today (WEST) Act. The bill was introduced by Representative John Curtis (UT-03) and received bipartisan support from his colleagues. Following the vote, Curtis made the following statement:


"It is critical that Utah's land remains under the stewardship of those who have tended it for generations,” said Rep. Curtis. “The rule the BLM recently finalized undermines the very people who rely on our federal lands for ranching, grazing, recreation, and beyond. Utahns know the true value of these lands and they should remain open to everyone. Instead, this rule favors wealthy individuals and environmental groups, allowing them to lock up land that belongs to all Utahns. I am pleased that the House voted in a bipartisan manner to pass my bill revoking its implementation.”


Congressman Curtis has been a tireless defender of America’s public lands during his time in Congress, and his work on the WEST Act exemplifies his commitment to protecting the western way of life. This crucial bill will reverse the recent disastrous BLM rule that threatens multiple land uses western communities have relied on for generations, and represents yet another way House Republicans have championed local voices ignored by the Biden administration. – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR-04)


“The Biden Administration’s Conservation and Landscape Health rule is a direct attack on the Western Way of Life,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “By elevating conservation as a qualified multiple-use, the BLM is acting outside of the law and is intentionally locking up America’s public lands from intended purposes like resource development, mining, grazing, recreation and timber harvesting. The Western Caucus staunchly opposes the final rule and applauds Rep. Curtis’ leadership on overturning yet another blatant overreach from this administration.”


Before passage of the bill Curtis spoke on the House floor. You can find his remarks below:



Select remarks below:


…Utah's farmers and ranchers, for generations have worked on this land, leaving it better than they found it. They understand how to live in a way that strengthens the landscape, but allows them to provide for their family and their community. I like to tease them that they're the original environmentalist. They don't always like that term. Ironically, this rule also undermines the work of these individuals who keep the land in good health and help prevent for the risk of wildfires, to instead lock the public out of Utah's lands.


Let me be clear I have immense respect for Utah's local land managers, who do their best with the resources they have. I appreciate their commitment to integrating into each unique community and working hard to find consensus. They are not the problem. The problem is Washington politicians who think they know better than the generations of families who actually live in Utah. The question isn't whether or not we want to protect these lands, but who gets to make the decisions?


Since coming to Congress, one of my favorite experiences has been connecting with Utah's rural communities. They give so much and ask for so little. They work hard to feed our families, protect American energy, and lead in manufacturing. We should be making it easier for them.


Instead, the Biden administration is pushing this rule to allow environmental groups funded by Swiss billionaires who pretend to be representing Utah to lock up public lands. This is completely backwards…




The BLM manages 245 million acres of public lands that are heavily concentrated in the western states. Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, BLM's mission is guided by multiple use and sustained yield mandate. These uses include livestock grazing, energy and mineral development, timber production, outdoor recreation, habitat for wildlife and watershed protection.


Often these uses overlap on BLM land and co-exist with each other. Meaningful conservation work continues to occur simultaneously with, and often benefiting from, these other uses. Responsible uses of BLM lands are central to the western way of life. Many rural economies rely on and thrive due to their access to BLM land and its multiple uses.


The rule finalized today would broadly allow the BLM to lease lands under new and vaguely defined restoration and mitigation leases and change standards around multiple use decisions. These conservation leases, or mitigation and restoration leases, could potentially prevent access to federal land for current and future BLM permittees. If the administration determines other uses, such as grazing, energy production, mining, or recreation, are incompatible with a lease, those uses would not be allowed and could be prohibited indefinitely from those lands, even after the expiration of a conservation lease. This would effectively lock up those lands indefinitely from multiple use, including potential historic uses of the land.


The Biden administration is conducting an orchestrated attack on public lands using a variety of tools, including so-called conservation as a disguise with restoration and mitigation leases and expediting designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. This final rule, coupled with Antiquities Act abuses, restrictive Resource Management Plans, and Natural Asset Companies only limits access, hurts local economies and removes uses of public lands that benefit Americans. These changes are unnecessary, as meaningful conservation work is already being done on the millions of acres of BLM land with multiple stakeholders.


Curtis introduced the Western Economic Security Today (WEST) Act in May of 2023, shortly after BLM issued the proposed rule. The bill would require the BLM director to permanently withdraw the rule. The committee held a hearing on this legislation in June of 2023 featuring South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, who testified on how important access to BLM land is to their states and the devastating impacts a final rule would have. The bill passed through the House Committee on Natural Resources in June of 2023. To learn more about the hearing, click here.


To learn more about the WEST Act, click here.