Utah delegation urges Biden not to play ‘political football’ with Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments

Bears Ears National Monument. Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Wikipedia

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 20, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s governor and other top elected officials are asking Pres. Joe Biden not to sign an Executive Order asking U.S. Department of Interior to review the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, both located in Utah.

Both national monuments were created on a federal level, without input by Utah officials, then reduced in size by former Pres. Donald Trump. Both the creation and the downsizing of the national monuments caused controversy in Utah, and greatly affected nearby communities.

The Utah officials — including Gov. Spencer Cannon, U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT), Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT), John Curtis (R-UT), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Blake Moore (R-UT), Attorney General Sean Reyes, Senate President Stuart Adams, and Speaker of the House Brad Wilson — collaborated to release the following statement:

For over 25 years Utah has been the center of controversial and divisive unilateral national monument decisions. Roughly two-thirds of our backyard belongs to the federal government, which has meant land management actions have often been done to us rather than with us.

A review in name only with predetermined results, which ultimately leads to a unilateral executive order enlarging the monuments’ boundaries, will not solve the root of the problem and will only deepen divisions in this country.

We share a sincere desire to find a collaborative, broadly supported solution to the political football of national monuments in Utah, specifically Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. It is imperative that President Biden bring the State of Utah to the table and work with state and local elected leaders toward a consensus product, including a permanent solution approved by Congress.

President Biden championed a message of unity during his campaign, and we stand ready to work across party lines towards a permanent solution.


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