This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop is no fan of national monuments, especially when Democratic presidents designate them.
He famously told a group at a Western States Land Commissioners Association meeting in Moab last year: "If anyone likes the Antiquities Act, the way it is written, die. I need stupidity out of the gene pool. And it is the most evil act ever invented."
We can ponder his apparent arrogance about his inalienable right to control gene pools (can you say death panels?), but the Utah Republican is known for his sarcasm, so take that with a grain of salt.
That attitude, though, could be behind Bishop's meddling in all sorts of issues that have nothing to do with Utah or the West as he rolls out his Public Lands Initiative this week a measure panned by critics as a giveaway to the fossil-fuels industry.
He is all over a seemingly harmless little act of philanthropy in Maine, where he has held hearings to scrutinize whether the National Park Service should accept a donation of 87,500 acres of pristine woodlands from a nonprofit foundation started by Burt's Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby, and whether President Barack Obama should designate the land as a national monument.
The foundation wants to give the acreage to the National Park Service so it can be preserved.
Bishop has shown skepticism over the proposed gift and has said it would harm Maine residents even though the landowners can keep out Maine residents right now if they want.
The seven-term Utah congressman is on the same side of the issue as Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a fellow Republican and one of the nation's most unpopular governors with a 58 percent disapproval rating. LePage has threatened to bulldoze paths right up to the boundaries of the parcel.
Bishop's interest in the proposed deal between a private landowner and the feds to preserve a small swath of woods came amid his attempt to transfer a portion of a popular wildlife refuge in Puerto Rico to that territory's government, possibly so that it could be sold to private interests to help deal with the territory's financial woes.
The proposal, however, was dropped from the bill dealing with Puerto Rico's debt crisis.
Meanwhile, back at home • An internal poll conducted for Peter Clemens, Bishop's Democratic opponent, shows the 14-year incumbent with an 8-point lead over the political newcomer.
The survey also indicates Bishop has a 42 percent favorable rating and a 35 percent unfavorable rating. About a quarter of respondents are unsure.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C., put Bishop at 44 percent to Clemens' 36 percent with 20 percent unsure. The sample came from 500 landlines in Utah's 1st Congressional District and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Perhaps Bishop knew something about his district four years ago,when he objected to a plan by the Legislature's redistricting panel to shift parts of his heavily Republican turf into the 4th Congressional District to give the GOP a better shot there.
The committee acquiesced to Bishop, withdrawing the boundary change. Later, some blamed Bishop's stance for Mia Love's narrow loss to then-Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson in the 4th District.
The Bundy welfare program • What is it about freedom-loving, Constitution-thumping, "independent" anti-government zealots that whenever they cause trouble, everybody else is supposed to pay for their consequences?
Residents were invited to a cookout in Delta City Park earlier this month. The event was actually a fundraiser for David "Davey" Bundy of Delta, who is charged with conspiracy in the armed standoff at father Cliven's ranch in 2014. Tickets went for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. There also was a raffle. In fact, this was the second fundraiser in Delta for David Bundy since his arrest in March.