Utah delegation urges Obama to refrain from monument creation

By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — President Barack Obama’s Thursday designation of three national monuments in California amplified fears by Utah’s congressional delegation that San Juan County’s Bears Ears could be next on his list, spurring a strongly worded letter urging the president to leave Utah alone.

“Federal land-use policy has a major impact on the lives of those residing within and near federal lands,” the letter dated Friday reads. “We believe the wisest land-use decisions are made with community involvement and local support. This principle is true whether skyscrapers or sagebrush surround the community.”

The letter was signed by all four of Utah’s representatives and its two senators, reiterating strong opposition to any creation of a new national monument and specifically a nearly 2 million acre-swath of land in San Juan County pushed by a tribal coalition and environmental groups.

“Use of the Antiquities Act within (Utah) will be met with fierce local opposition and will further polarize federal land-use discussions for years, if not decades,” the letter stresses.

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