The recent designation of Bears Ears National Monument is yet another controversial example where 1.3 million acres were set aside though the power of the Antiquities Act by the administration of former president Barack Obama, causing another firestorm protest here in Utah. Pro-monument supporters applaud this move claiming it will protect the land in question, others see this as a continual chokehold to assert federal domain dominance. Local and state opponents feel ignored and disenfranchised by the huge land grab decision; there is no doubt that powerful out-of-state environmental organizations were able to once again push through another monument similar to what happened with Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The election of President Trump has seen a nationwide backlash by putting into office a more conservative leader who could possibly reverse such backdoor decisions and the West is hopeful that injustice can be rectified. I have seen a whole slew of articles in the local papers supporting the creation of the monument and just wanted to add balance to the opinions expressed.
Doing away with the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument would be the right thing to do — in returning it to former status. Multiple uses of public lands are the better way to go to sustain livelihoods and have a better quality of life in rural Utah. There is no question that our local economic driver is currently tourism in Grand County. Like the boom-and-bust years of ranching, farming, mining and now tourism, we all have to figure out how to remain here or move on like the ancient peoples before us.
Until the abusive power of the Antiquities Act is done away with or curtailed, this state-versus-federal sovereignty quarrel will never end. This matter needs to be settled at the Supreme Court level once and for all. Until then, many others and I urge President Trump to rescind, or drastically shrink Bears Ears National Monument.
Kelly M Green