Governor Herbert To Sign Bears Ear Resolution

Picture courtesy: Conservation Alliance

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, May 19, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) – Governor Gary Herbert said Thursday he will sign a resolution opposing the Federal designation of a proposed Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

During a news conference hosted by KUED-TV, Herbert indicated he does not believe the resolution, passed by the Utah legislature during a special session on Wednesday, will disrupt ongoing negotiations with the Obama administration.

President Obama is in the process of considering the creation of the 1.9 million-acre monument in San Juan County, and has the power to act on a designation before his presidency comes to a close in January of 2017.

“It’s not that we aren’t talking, we just don’t want to get blindsided,” Herbert said Thursday.

The governor said there’s been a fear Utah would get caught off guard with a surprise monument designation like the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, established in 1996 by then President Bill Clinton.  In that case, Governor Mike Leavitt got little to no advance warning about the designation.

Fast forward to 2016, and Herbert says he is convinced “it would be a mistake” to create a new national monument in Southern Utah. Instead, Herbert believes a conservation area might be a better designation and more palatable to American Indians living in the area.

Herbert did not comment on the strong language in the resolution that calls on the Utah attorney general to pursue all legal options available to the state regarding so-called “federal overreach” and “improper” unilateral national monument designations.

Instead, Herbert said he is convinced the Bears Ears resolution “is not going to jeopardize the process one bit.”

But the resolution has its opponents both inside and outside the state legislature. During yesterday’s special session, Sen. Jim Dubakis, D-Salt Lake City, described passage of the resolution as “a nasty thing to do, to stick it in the president’s face like that.”

On Wednesday during the special session, proponents of the creation of a Bears Ears monument stood on the steps of the Utah State Capitol with signs that read: “Protect Wild Utah.”


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