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    Report: Is new board stacked against monument?

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    Public submissions to The Times-Independent can range from press releases to obituaries to feature stories and news. All submissions are subject to editorial review and approval.

    The Department of Interior has publicly identified the 15 people it selected for the advisory committee that will provide guidance on managing the 200,000-acre Bears Ears reserve in San Juan County.

    There is no one on the panel who supported the 2016 original designation of the monument, or who opposed President Donald Trump’s decision a year later to cut it by 85 percent, leaving out Cedar Mesa, Elk Ridge, Grand Gulch and many other places that five tribes wanted protected when they urged President Barack Obama to declare a massive monument.

    Members include San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams, former Commissioner Rebecca Benally’s son Ryan and ranchers Gail Johnson and Zeb Dalton. The BLM posted the members Friday, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.

    The panel, whose members represent 11 interest groups ranging from recreation to archaeology, is to meet two to four times a year. Its first meeting will be set soon, according to Lisa Bryant of the BLM. The new members’ terms expire at varying times, in one, two or three years, so that future members’ terms are staggered. She said at least 50 people and as many as 100 applied. “Interior made the final selection after reviewing every application,” Bryant said. “There were numerous applications in every category.”

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