On August 10, 2016 Wilderness Watch released a new, detailed analysis of the Wilderness provisions found in the “Utah Public Lands Initiative Act” (H.R. 5780), which was introduced in Congress on July 14, 2016 by Rep Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Rep Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Though the PLI proposes to designate 41 new Wildernesses, Wilderness Watch’s analysis shows that the bill guts protections these Wildernesses would receive under the 1964 Wilderness Act, and includes numerous unprecedented harmful provisions never before found in any wilderness designation law. The sheer number and types of these special provisions ensure the Wildernesses designated by the PLI would be nothing but WINOs—Wildernesses In Name Only.
The PLI includes bad provisions that would damage Wilderness with language on wildlife management, motorized access, buffer zones, and military overflights. Some of those provisions have appeared previously in other wilderness bills.
The PLI also contains unprecedented damaging language for Wilderness in the areas of fire, insects, and disease control; livestock grazing; hunting, fishing, and shooting; trail and fence maintenance; water rights and water developments; land acquisition; airshed protection; and bighorn sheep viability. Such unprecedented language has never before appeared in any other wilderness bill that has passed Congress and makes a mockery of the idea that the PLI would actually protect any Wilderness.