December 18, 2019 –
Today, Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) introduced the Shawnee Wilderness Area Designation Act of 2019, legislation to lock up 289,000 acres of land in Illinois and make it part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Earlier this week, they condemned legislation introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) that undermines a bipartisan compromise signed into law earlier this year as part of S.47, the Natural Resources Management Act. S. 47 designated nearly one million acres in Emery County, UT, for multiple use including recreation, conservation, development, and grazing, resolving a decades-long controversy over federal land designations and management in the region.
“One good deed deserves another. One bad bill demands another. This week, Senator Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill to lock-up more than 8.2 million acres of land in Utah. Today, Utah members introduced a bill to designate 289,000 acres of wilderness in Illinois. The acreage should be larger, but only 1.1% of Illinois is federally owned compared to more than 65% in Utah. The new designation may not make sense for Illinois, but neither does Durbin’s arbitrary bill. I look forward to both of them going nowhere.” – Ranking Republican Rob Bishop
“Senators in the East shouldn’t be telling people in the West what to do with our land. If wilderness is so important to Senator Durbin, he doesn’t need to go all the way to Utah to designate it. Our bill would designate the 289,000 acres of national forest in Illinois as wilderness so he can save himself a trip across the country and enjoy the wilderness in his own backyard.” – U.S. Senator Mitt Romney