Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline reports that although long-sought legislation to extend protections to hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in Colorado is moving ahead hopefully in 2021’s narrowly Democratic Congress, freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert wants nothing to do with this hippie crap:
First-term Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert told members of a key House committee on Tuesday that she hadn’t been consulted on H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. Introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, the latest version of H.R. 803 is a package of eight public lands proposals including the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act and the Colorado Wilderness Act.
Together, the two bills would establish new or permanent protections for more than 1 million acres of federally-owned land across Colorado, the vast majority of it in Boebert’s 3rd Congressional District. Boebert has consistently opposed both proposals.
“This bill is being rushed through with no committee hearing, no committee markup, no witness testimony,” she said while testifying as a witness in a virtual hearing of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. “Public land decisions should be made with local collaboration and input, or at the very least the member who represents the affected district.” [Pols emphasis]
The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reports, the central problem here appears to be that nobody talked to Boebert about the bill–which is further evident from her apparent lack of understanding of what the bill does:
[Rep. Diana] DeGette told the rules committee that the acreage covered in the Colorado Wilderness Act has almost all been managed as wilderness study areas since the 1980s, and a recent poll showed two-thirds of people on the Western Slope support increased wilderness…
Boebert cited the concerns she said she has heard about DeGette’s measure from county commissioners first as a candidate and now in Congress.
“I believe that my election shows the polling in my district. [Pols emphasis] They understand that I was there to advocate for multiple use on public land,” she said.
Notwithstanding the perennial objections of Republican local elected officials, the additional protections in these bills are in fact very popular among Boebert’s constituents in CD-3. This is also not a new proposal by any stretch–Rep. Diana DeGette has been trying to pass the Colorado Wilderness Act since 1999, and the CORE Act has similarly been a bone of partisan contention for years. As for Boebert’s election in 2020 serving as a barometer on this or for that matter any nuanced political issue, that’s just silly–but if Boebert wants to go there, let’s start with how she held the seat for Republicans by a smaller margin than Scott Tipton ever did.
There’s nothing unexpected here, there was never a doubt Boebert would be a reliable vote for the oil and other extractive industries that wield tremendous influence over Republican politics on the Western Slope. But as an advocate for the industry, Boebert is simply not effective with her colleagues. And the blowback Boebert faces for opposing a large majority of Coloradans on the issue of protecting public lands outweighs the benefits of publicly grandstanding against them.