The Foundation For Integrated Management Is A State-Funded Nonprofit That Opposes Public Lands Protections Through Lobbying And Litigation 

The Foundation For Integrated Management (FIRM) Gets over 91 Percent Of Its Money From Taxpayers 

FIRM Is A “State-Funded Nonprofit Group That Promotes Local Control Over Public Lands.” “Rep. Mike Noel’s HB481, which would affix the Trump name to the Utah National Parks Highway, is largely a gesture of thanks for Trump’s recent decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments… Briscoe said he received 300 emails since HB481’s surprise unveiling Thursday, all but one opposing the measure. The single message of support came from Foundation for Integrated Resource Management, a state-funded nonprofit group that promotes local control over public lands.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]

FIRM’s Operating Budget Is Overwhelmingly Dependent On State Dollars. FIRM’s budget request of $500,000 constituted 91 percent of its planned budget for 2019. Still more came from “membership dues,” which come from FIRM’s county members. [FIRM FY 2019 Operating budget, accessed 09/09/19]

Despite Secruing A $150,000 From The Utah Legislature In 2017, Its Tax Filings Only Show $139,083 In Total Revenue For That Year

Rep. Mike Noel, Who Left The Legislature Amid Scandal, Initially Asked For $500,000 For FIRM In 2017, But Then Pared His Request Down To $150,000. “[Mike] Noel is also behind the request [for $500,000 in state funding] for FIRM, which builds on $250,000 the Legislature put up last year, according to Miller, who also serves as CEO of the Utah Counties Indemnity Pool. That earlier grant went to another nonprofit called the Rural Utah Alliance, ostensibly to defend county officials who get into legal trouble for standing up to federal land managers. On Monday, Noel pared the request to $400,000 and divvied it up into three separate grants: $150,000 to FIRM; $100,000 to the Rural Utah Alliance; and $150,000 for “rural sovereignty” grants, used by counties to challenge cuts to grazing levels on public lands.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]

  • The Utah Legislature Appropriated $150,000 To FIRM In February 2017. “The Legislature intends that the $150,000 appropriation be used to support the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management’s efforts to advocate for the State of Utah’s rights to use and access federal public lands for multiple use and sustained yield. […] The motion passed with a vote of 14-3-2.” [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee Minutes, 02/13/17]
  • Rep. Mike Noel Attends FIRM Meetings, Where He Complains About Conflict Of Interest Allegations. “According to the Western Values Project’s property analysis, one 40-acre parcel appears to have been carefully cut out of the monument under the reduction order signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 4 at Zinke’s recommendation. Noel has told The Tribune he never asked for his property to be carved out and doubted he would benefit from the change. At a gathering hosted Thursday by the advocacy group Foundation for Integrated Resource Management, Noel went on the attack but offered nothing to rebut the basic facts of WVP’s claims.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 02/22/18]

FIRM Reported Only $139,083 In Revenue In 2017. Despite receiving $150,000 from the Utah Legislature in 2017, FIRM’s 2017 990 reports $139,083 in revenue between 01/01/17 and 12/31/17. Of that, only $132,333 is from grants. [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]

The Utah Legislature Funds FIRM As A Way To Get Around Equal Access To Justice (EAJA) Rules That Keep Counties And States From Recouping Legal Fees In Litigation With The Federal Government

Utah Legislators Said It Was Necessary To Fund FIRM Because FIRM Could Recoup Legal Fees Under EAJA, Which Counties And The State Could Not Do. Sen. Hinkins said, “I stand in favor of this motion. Our partners are fulfilling a key role in this area. There’s a real opportunity as well to have FIRM fill an active and key role to have our counties and state be reimbursed.” [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee audio, 02/13/17] (46:50)

  • EAJA Was Designed To Provide Relief To Low-Income People And Charities– Not Governments. “Congress enacted the EAJA temporarily in 1980 before reauthorizing the statute permanently in 1985. Motivated in part by a desire to deter government overreach and wrongdoing, the Act significantly departed from the default American rule by permitting awards of attorney’s fees against the federal government in many types of judicial and administrative proceedings. […] The EAJA permits recovery of fees by both organizations and individuals, but Sections 504 and 2412(d) limit the parties that may receive a fee award. First, those provisions only allow for one-way fee shifting: “a prevailing party other than the United States” may receive attorney’s fees, while the government may not. Second, only an individual with a net worth of $2 million or less, or the owner of a business or other organization worth $7 million or less and with no more than 500 employees may recover an award of attorney’s fees under Sections 504 and 2412(d). Nonprofits exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are not subject to the size and net worth caps.” [Congressional Research Service, 06/10/19]

Rep. Noel Explained How FIRM Would Recoup EAJA Money On Counties’ And The State’s Behalf. Noel said, “what we’ve found is there’s a process called EAJA. Equal Access to Justice. And the environmental communities use that quite regularly. It’s not available to any county or any state governmental entity. But it is available to NGOs. And that’s how they are able to fund. So as you have a lawsuit, and we’ve had many of these, where environmental groups enter into a lawsuit, and the agency decides they want to settle, the counties are left out, the states are left out, they settle the lawsuits, and then they get paid for it. With the creation of these NGOs, there’s actually three of them out, but I don’t have the other one on the list. The other one is, I can’t remember the name of it. But we didn’t put anything in there, they’re fine. We can go in and they can enter into lawsuits and they can file an action. They can be part of the settlement agreement, and they can also receive EAJA money. It’s a methodology that we’ll be able to use in the future to keep on the same standing with environmental NGOs.” [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee audio, 02/13/17] (40:15) 

Senator Hinkins said, “What this does is it allows them to EAJA funds that the state is ineligible for, or any other counties or cities. FIRM is actually eligible to be reimbursed through EAJA, and that’s the reason behind this, isn’t it, Representative Noel?” Noel said, “exactly.” [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee audio, 02/13/17]  (41:59)

FIRM Said Its 2017 Appropriation From The Legislature Would Hold It Over Until It Could Convince Counties To Pay Membership Dues, But They Came Back And Asked For Even More State Funding The Next Year

FIRM Says That It Asked For State Funding To Hold It Over Until It Could Convince County Governments To Provide Funding. ‘To create standing in front of the courts, we need as many counties as members as possible. We keep the membership fees low so we can get as many as possible,’ Miller said. ‘We see chapters of FIRM throughout the Western United States and revenue coming from throughout the West so it is not just Utah bearing the brunt. … We are asking for this appropriation to get us through this year so counties can put us into their budgets [next fiscal year].’ […] FIRM expects to sign up rural counties across the West to supports its efforts to ‘educate’ the Trump administration, lobby Congress and pursue lawsuits.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]

FIRM Sells Membership To “Local Governments” For $250 or $500 Per Year. It Charges Nonprofits $1000 For Membership. Note: FIRM’s website is currently down. [FIRM, accessed 09/06/19]

Despite Saying It Has Out-Of-State Members, FIRM Only Lists 13 Utah Counties As “Members.” They include Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Dpchesne, Iron, Piute, San Juan, Uintah, Kane, Washington, Morgan, Sevier, and Wayne Counties. Note: FIRM’s website is currently down. [FIRM, accessed 09/06/19]

Mike Noel Bragged About FIRM Convincing Counties To Pay Membership Dues. Rep. Noel said, “So far this year, we’ve had some great success with our counties entering in. There’s a real motivation there. These entities have geared up. We have good boards. FIRM, for instance, has County Commissioners, former Congressman Chris Cannon,   [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee audio, 02/13/17] (41:30)

FIRM, In 2018, Asked The Utah Legislature To Up Its Contribution To $500,000. One Lawmaker Noted That Was 91 Percent Of Its Budget. “The Foundation for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM) is again requesting $500,000 from the state of Utah to fund its legal and policy work. During a legislative appropriations meeting on Tuesday, Box Elder County Commissioner and FIRM Board Chair Stan Summers said the organization could take some credit for a number of recent changes related to public lands policy in the West. […] FIRM’s Request in the meeting of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday wasn’t well-received by Democrats in attendance. Taylorsville Rep. Karen Kwan pointed out that the $500,000 request represents 91% of FIRM’s operating budget, while Sen. Jim Dabakis questioned the notion of the state funding nonprofits engaged in advocacy work.” [KCPW, 06/02/18]

  • FIRM’s Operating Budget Is Overwhelmingly Dependent On State Dollars. FIRM’s budget request of $500,000 constituted 91 percent of its planned budget for 2019. Still more came from “membership dues,” which would come from FIRM’s county members. [FIRM FY 2019 Operating budget, accessed 09/09/19]
  • The Committee Recommended That FIRM Get $500,000 In 2018. The Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee Recommended A $500,000 Appropriation For FIRM In 2018. [Utah Office Of The Legislative Fiscal Analyst, 02/14/18]
  • FIRM May Have Received As Much As $350,000 From The Legislature In 2018. “The Legislature intends that the $350,000 General Fund one-time appropriation for PLPCO – NGO – Funding go to a non-governmental organization that advocates and litigates for rural counties and shall not lapse at the close of FY 2018.” [S.B. 3, Current Fiscal Year Supplemental Appropriations, accessed 09/09/19]

FIRM Receives Only A Small Portion Of Its Income From Membership Dues. In 2017, the only year with available financial information, FIRM reported a total of $139,083 in revenue. Only $6,750 of that is from “membership dues.” The rest is from “Contributions, gifts, …and grants.” [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]

FIRM Spends Most Of Its Money On Staff And Consultants. In 2017, the only year with available financial information, FIRM reported a total of $132,333 in expenses. Of that total, $48,568 went to staff compensation and $42,796 went to professional fees and contactors. FIRM spent $40,969 on “other.” [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]

  • In 2017, FIRM Paid President Stan Summers $16,667. [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]
  • In 2017, FIRM Paid Executive Director Johnnie Miller $20,000. [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]
  • In 2017, FIRM Paid House Counsel Jeremiah Riley $10,881. Riley is also registered to lobby the Utah legislature on FIRM’s behalf. [FIRM 990, 06/11/18] and [Utah Lobbying Disclosures, accessed 09/09/19]

FIRM Plans To Litigate With The Federal Government On Behalf Of The State And Counties Of Utah — They Even Planned To Be The Vehicle For A State Lawsuit Against The Federal Government If Donald Trump Did Not Reduce Utah’s National Monuments 

“FIRM expects to sign up rural counties across the West to supports its efforts to ‘educate’ the Trump administration, lobby Congress and pursue lawsuits.” “FIRM expects to sign up rural counties across the West to supports its efforts to ‘educate’ the Trump administration, lobby Congress and pursue lawsuits.” [The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/17]

Had Donald Trump Not Ordered A Reduction To Bears Ears National Monument, The State Of Utah Planned To Use FIRM As A Proxy To Sue The Federal Government. “Absent congressional action to either endorse or revoke the monument, Bears Ears will end up in court. The tribes will sue if Trump diminishes it. If left the way it is, the state will sue through a proxy, a group called Foundation for Integrated Resource Management, whose chairman Stan Summers accompanied Zinke to view the Bears Ears’ Butler Wash ruins.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 05/15/17]

FIRM provides “legal action” services to its member counties. “Whereas, the Iron County would like to become eligible to request legal action and public relations assistance from the FIRM support network.” [Iron County Commission Minutes, 04/24/17]

  • Other Counties Passed Identical Resolutions. [Daggett County Commission, 06/06/17]

Though FIRM Is A Nonprofit, It Appears To Engage Extensively In Lobbying Through Meetings With Covered Officials, Hosting Events, Taking Positions On Legislation, And Other Activities

FIRM Was Set Up Essentially To Be A State-Funded Lobbyist 

FIRM  Says Its Goals Are To “Lobby Congress” And ‘Educate’ The Trump Administration.” “FIRM expects to sign up rural counties across the West to supports its efforts to ‘educate’ the Trump administration, lobby Congress and pursue lawsuits.” [The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/17]

FIRM’s Focus Is On “Changing Policies.” “FIRM is similar to another Utah nonprofit, American Lands Council, but without the emphasis on land transfer. At the urging of rural county commissioners, Utah Rep. Ken Ivory founded ALC to help states gain title to public lands, but Ivory no longer runs the organization, whose membership is eroding. FIRM, by contrast, focuses on changing policies to ensure public land can be used to support rural economies.”  [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]

FIRM Says Its Objective Is To “Stand Up” For Public Lands To Congress And Agency Leaders. In a Facebook video, FIRM says one of its objectives is this: “As an educational-based organization, we communicate with the public, local officials, congress, and agency leaders in a bold effort to stand up for responsible access to these lands.” [Facebook, 03/03/17] (01:17)

FIRM’s IRS Filings Suggest That It Spent A Substantial Percentage Of Its Budget On Activities That Sound Like Lobbying. FIRM reports that it spent $132,333 to “provide information on public land issues… to members and elected officials” and to conduct “a FIRM Day on the hill to provide information to legislators and others on public lands issues.” [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]

FIRM Indicated On Its IRS Filings That It Did Not Engage In Any Lobbying. Part VI, line 47 of FIRM’s IRS form 990 asks, “Did the organization engage in lobbying activities or have a section 501(h) election in effect during the tax year?” FIRM indicated, “No.” [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]

FIRM Pays For Jeremiah Murphy– A Registered Lobby Who Works On Several Issues At The Utah Statehouse And Congress– As Its “House Counsel” 

FIRM Uses  Money To Lobby The Utah Legislature. Jeremiah Riley lobbied the Utah State Legislature on behalf of FIRM in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. [Utah Lobbyist Database, accessed 06/09/19]

  • In 2017, FIRM Paid House Counsel Jeremiah Riley $10,881. [FIRM 990, 06/11/18]

Jeremiah Riley, FIRM’s Lobbyist, Is Registered To Lobby Congress On Behalf Of The University Of Utah For The Uinta Group. [LDA Disclosure, 04/15/19]

  • The Uinta Group Is Not Registered To Lobby The Federal Government On Behalf Of Any Clients Other Than The University Of Utah.  [LDA Disclosure Search, accessed 09/06/19]

Despite Having A Lobbyist, FIRM Has Not Reported Any Federal Lobbying Expenditures

The Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database Has No Records Of FIRM Lobbying The Federal Government. [LDA Disclosure Search, accessed 09/06/19]

FIRM Frequently Comments On Specific Legislation At The Federal And State Level

FIRM Advocates For Revising The Antiquities Act. In a Facebook post, FIRM said, “The Antiquities Act has become a tyrannical tool that has been manipulated by Presidents to constitute massive federal land grabs. While it has good intentions, it’s time to revise the act to prevent this abuse of power and the detriment it has on local and state economies. #ReviseTheAntiquitiesAct” [Facebook, 07/15/17]

FIRM Posted A Link To An Op-Ed Written By Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes And Senate President Wayne Niederhauser Encouraging Utah’s Congressional Delegation To Change The Antiquities Act. FIRM commented, “Great insights.” [Facebook, 12/03/17]

  • The Op-ed Called For Specific Amendments To The Antiquities Act. “It’s time for a review of the Antiquities Act, so that any new national monument, or extension of an existing monument, would require the subsequent approval of Congress in consultation with state and local officials. Further, designations should be limited to specific antiquities and to areas no larger than what is necessary to protect them.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 12/02/17]

FIRM Supported HR 2936, The Resilient Federal Forests Act. FIRM shared a link to a blog and commented, “Some great legislation coming out of the House.” [Facebook, 07/09/17]

  • The Blog Post Called For The Passage Of Specific Federal Legislation. “Fortunately there’s a balanced solution now moving through Congress that will help restore overgrown and fire-prone forests, while creating new jobs across the nation. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), the only forester in Congress, has introduced the bipartisan Resilient Federal Forests Act (HR 2936) to give the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management the tools and resources they need to better manage our public lands. The legislation has already been approved by the House Natural Resources Committee and could soon receive a vote on the floor of the U.S. House. Congress should pass this legislation without delay, because the Forest Service estimates that at least 58 million acres of national forest are at high, or very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.” [The Westerner, 07/08/17]

FIRM Promoted Rep. Chris Stewart’s Legislation To Create A National Park In Parts Of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. [Facebook, 12/21/17]

FIRM Praised The Senate Confirmation Of Joe Balash. In a Facebook post, FIRM said, “The U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald J. Trump’s nominee, Joe Balash, to serve as the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. A native of North Pole, Alaska, living in Washington D.C., Balash brings more than 19 years of experience in land and natural resource management.” [Facebook, 12/22/17]

FIRM Praised S.3172, The Restore Our Parks Act. In a Facebook post, FIRM linked to a DOI press release and said, “This bill would use revenue derived from energy produced on federal lands to restore our National Parks! #ResponsibleManagement starts with people willing to address tough issues and be #solutionfinders. We couldn’t be more thrilled with Secretary Zinke and his work on this. #FirmCountry [Facebook, 03/07/18]

  • The Linked Press Release Is About S.3172, The Restore Our Parks Act. “Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke​ joined ​​U.S. ​Senator​s​ Lamar Alexander (R-TN)​ and Angus King (I-ME)​, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and ​others to introduce a bipartisan bill to rebuild ​America’s National Park​s. The proposed ​bill would​ use up to $18 billion in revenue derived from energy produced on federal lands and waters to​ establish a special fund within the Treasury specifically for “National Park Restoration”. The bill ​follows the blueprint laid out in Secretary Zinke and President Trump’s budget proposal, the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund.​ The Alexander/King bill’s cosponsors are: Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO)​, and Thom Tillis (R-NC). This bill fulfills one of the priorities laid out in President Trump’s legislative framework for rebuilding America’s infrastructure.” [DOI Press Release, 03/07/18]

FIRM Promoted A Bill From Mike Noel That Would “Make Sweeping Changes To How Public Land Is Managed And Sold” In Utah. [Facebook, 02/21/17]

FIRM Sent Out A “Legislative Update” Mass Email Via Mailchimp That Summarized Several Active Bills In The Utah Legislature. [FIRM Legislative Update, 02/24/17]

FIRM Praised The Results Of A Senate Vote On BLM 2.0. In a Facebook post, FIRM said, “We are thrilled to find out that the Senate just voted to strike down the BLM Rule 2.0. This is a solid win for responsible access to public lands. #utpol #utleg” [Facebook, 03/08/17]

FIRM Urged People To Ask Ryan Zinke To Rescind Bears Ears National Monument. FIRM posted a phone number for Secretary Ryan Zinke and said, “the comment period on #BearsEars is open! Call @Secretary Zinke today and ask him to stand with the locals.” [Facebook, 05/12/17]

FIRM Maintained A Legislative Bill Tracker For The Utah Legislature In 2018. In a Facebook post, FIRM said, “With the start of the Utah Legislative Session, stay up to date on all things public lands as we roll out our legislative bill tracker next week!” [Facebook, 01/25/18]

Stan Summers, Who Identifies Himself As “CEO Of Firm,” Frequently Goes To The Utah Capitol To Ask For Money For FIRM And Give His Position On Public Lands Bills

While Stan Summers Was On The Board Of FIRM, He Spoke In Favor Of Several Public Lands Bills In The Utah Legislature. 

  • FIRM Board Member Stan Summers Appeared Before A Utah Legislative Committee To Ask For Money. The purpose of Summers’s appearance before this committee was to “ask for financial assistance.” (01:20:45) Summers said, “We’ve got a huge board in front of you if you look at your handouts. […] We’ve kind of morphed into another thing to help not only the state, the feds, and the counties. When I was sitting behind Secretary Zinke, he looked at us (FIRM board members) and said, ‘please quit suing us. Let us go out and do our jobs, and if you want something done, here’s my number. Text me, and we’ll get it done.’ And if you look at some of the things we’ve done last year, everything we brought up in front of the DOI, from taking care of the monuments to grazing to WOTUS to BLM 2.0, everything has been happening at an astounding rate.” [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee Audio, 02/06/18] (01:21:20)
  • Stan Summers Spoke In Favor Of SITLA Environmental Mitigation. Summers appeared before the Utah Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee to ask for $200,000 to be appropriated for SITLA to do “environmental mitigation.”  He identified himself, “Stan Summers, Box Elder County Commissioner. I’m also the CEO of FIRM.” [Utah Natural Resources Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting Audio, 02/15/19] (01:13:50)
  • Stan Summers Spoke In Favor Of HB 265, Wildlife Management Area Amendments. [Utah Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Standing Committee Minutes, 02/29/19]
  • Stan Summers Spoke In Opposition To HJR 23, A Joint Resolution Withdrawing Approval For Class V Landfill. [House Natural Resources Agriculture and Environment Committee, 03/01/19]

FIRM Frequently Meets With Lobbying Act Covered Officials Including Members Of Congress, Political Appointees At Interior, Utah Legislators, And Even President Trump 

FIRM Board Member Stan Summers, While Asking The Utah Legislature For Money, Bragged About His Access To Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The purpose of Summers’s appearance before this committee was to “ask for financial assistance.” (01:20:45) Summers said, “We’ve got a huge board in front of you if you look at your handouts. […] We’ve kind of morphed into another thing to help not only the state, the feds, and the counties. When I was sitting behind Secretary Zinke, he looked at us (FIRM board members) and said, ‘please quit suing us. Let us go out and do our jobs, and if you want something done, here’s my number. Text me, and we’ll get it done.’ And if you look at some of the things we’ve done last year, everything we brought up in front of the DOI, from taking care of the monuments to grazing to WOTUS to BLM 2.0, everything has been happening at an astounding rate.” [Utah Natural Resources, Agriculture, And Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee Audio, 02/06/18] (01:21:20)

FIRM Posted Photos To Facebook Of Board Chairman Stan Summers Posing With Secretary Ryan Zinke And Rep. Rob Bishop With The Hashtag “#NoMonument.” A comment noded that FIRM had a “wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time” with the officials. [Facebook, 05/07/17]

FIRM President Stan Summers “Represented” FIRM In A Meeting With Donald Trump Where He Discussed “Public Land Policy And Reducing The Size Of Bears Ears And Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments In Utah.” “Summers is past president of FIRM. The watchdog group is comprised of commissioners from mostly rural areas of the state including San Juan, Uintah, Cache and Garfield counties. The group is against government agencies they say are using their bureaucratic powers to close off public lands. […] Summers represented the group in Washington, D.C. this past spring during a meeting with President Trump. They discussed public land policy and reducing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.” [Utah Public Radio, 11/30/17]

FIRM Posted A Photo To Facebook Of Board Chair Stan Summers Meeting With Senator Orrin Hatch. FIRM commented, “Among their discussion items was the fight for responsible access to public lands.[Facebook, 05/05/17]

FIRM Hosted A “Day On The Hill” Event At The Utah Capitol For State Legislators. FIRM posted a video of Board Chairman Stan Summers standing in front of the Utah Capitol. In the video, Summers says, “here we are just at the start of the legislature of 2018, knowing that there’s going to be some good things coming out of the legislature that will help us.” [Facebook, (0:05), 01/19/18]

FIRM hosts an annual event called “FIRM Day On The Hill” At The Utah Capitol. FIRM said the purpose of the event was to “discuss public lands issues here in the state of Utah” with legislators. The event’s EventBrite advertisement says Reps Mike Noel and Carl Albrecht will attend, along with Randy Simmons and others. [EventBrite, 02/15/18]

  • The event, which included lunch, cost $20 to attend in 2018 but was “free for all elected officials.” [Facebook, 01/24/18]
  • After Its “FIRM Day On The Hill” Event in 2017, FIRM Posted Photos Of Its Board Member Stan Summers Interacting With Several Legislators In The Utah State Capitol Building. [Facebook, 02/04/17]

After Its 2017 Day On The Hill, FIRM Posted 33 Photos Of Its Board Members Interacting With Legislators In The Utah Capitol. [Facebook, 02/04/17]

FIRM Posted A Photo From Its 2019 FIRM Day On The Hill Of Stan Summers Addressing State Legislators At The Utah Capitol.  [Facebook, 02/14/19]

In 2019, FIRM Said Its Day On The Hill Event Would Involve “Discussing Public Land Bills And Amendments And Legislative Involvement.” “Join us for an afternoon discussing public land bills and amendments, and legislative involvement! Lunch provided.” [FIRM Day On The Hill, 02/14/19]

FIRM Is Strongly Opposed To National Monuments 

FIRM And Its Board Members Are Ardent Opponents To Public Lands Protections Under The Antiquities Act

FIRM was formed to “fight the Bears Ears monument designation” and “other Land-Use Decisions That Upset Rural County Leaders.” “On this list was a $500,000 request from a nonprofit called Foundation for Integrated Resource Management, or FIRM, that formed a few months ago to fight the Bears Ears monument designation, Recapture Canyon motorized restrictions and other federal land-use decisions that upset rural county leaders.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]

FIRM Planned To File A Lawsuit Over The Designation Of Bears Ears National Monument And Recoup Costs Under The Equal Access To Justice Act. “FIRM, by contrast, focuses on changing policies to ensure public land can be used to support rural economies. ‘Our dedicated members love the lands of their heritage and are watchdogs against government agencies that would use their bureaucratic powers to close off public lands to responsible use,’ states the group’s website. ‘We use contributions obtained from our donors to file legal actions and communicate with the public in a bold effort to stand up for responsible access of these lands.’ Suing over President Barack Obama’s Bears Ears designation, which set aside 1.3 million acres in San Juan County, is a top priority, even though Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has already pledged to file such an action, Miller said.” […] According to Miller, FIRM will recoup its costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which awards such costs to nonprofits should they prevail in a legal action against the federal government. States and counties are not eligible to recoup costs under this law, which conservation groups often invoke in their lawsuits to reverse land-use decisions made by BLM or the Forest Service.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]

FIRM Board Members Have Made Outlandish Comments About Bears Ears National Monument– Saying The Designation Would Cause “Devastation” And Is Only Supported By People Who “Don’t Have Jobs” 

FIRM Board Chairman Stan Summers Said That People Who Support Bears Ears “Don’t Have Jobs.” In December 2016, Stan Summers said people who support the Bears Ears National Monument “don’t have jobs.” [The County Seat, 12/20/16] (00:15)

FIRM Board Member Rebecca Benally Said That Bears Ears National Monument Was “Breaking Up Families.” Rebecca Benally, in December 2016, said President Obama was “breaking up families, using divide and conquer among my brothers and sisters.” [The County Seat, 12/20/16] (01:00)

FIRM Board Member Rebecca Benally Said Bears Ears National Monument Would Be A “Devastation” For The Utah Navajo. “At a Utah Commission for the Stewardship for Public Lands meeting on April 20, most of the state legislators were downright hostile toward monument supporters. They again framed the fight in terms of their idea of ‘locals’ — meaning Utahns and San Juan County residents — vs. ‘outsiders’ — meaning everyone else, even if they have deep roots in southeast Utah. One lawmaker cut off in mid-speech tribal coalition Co-Chair Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, a Ute Mountain Ute tribal council member, implying that even she had no say in the matter, despite the fact that the tribe’s reservation extends into San Juan County. Benally was there to egg on the lawmakers. She said she supports protection of the land — even wilderness designation for the Bears Ears, themselves — but not a monument, which would be ‘devastation.’ ‘My people do not want a national monument,’ she said, ‘they want continued access … for medicinal plant gathering and wood gathering.’ (The coalition’s monument proposal clearly states that such activities would remain unimpeded).” [High Country News, 05/03/16]

FIRM Supported Naming A Utah Highway After Donald Trump To Thank Him For Reducing National Monuments 

FIRM Supported Renaming A Highway Through Utah’s National Parks After Donald Trump. Rep. Mike Noel’s HB481, which would affix the Trump name to the Utah National Parks Highway, is largely a gesture of thanks for Trump’s recent decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments… Briscoe said he received 300 emails since HB481’s surprise unveiling Thursday, all but one opposing the measure. The single message of support came from Foundation for Integrated Resource Management, a state-funded nonprofit group that promotes local control over public lands.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/08/18]