Utah House Leaders Commend Secretary Zinke’s Interim Report on the Bears Ears National Monument
SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Trump Administration and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released their interim report on the Bears Ears National Monument.
Utah House leaders commend President Trump’s leadership, in tasking Secretary Zinke with a review of national monument designations under the Antiquities Act over the past two decades.
“It is refreshing to have an Administration that desires to collaborate with local officials, tribal leaders and citizens to generate optimum methods to manage our lands,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “Western states have often been overlooked and ignored, but that has changed drastically since January.”
The new Administration welcomes the input of Utahns to discuss empirical alternatives to preserve our lands, while providing economic opportunities for those living in the area. This was demonstrated during Secretary Zinke’s recent four-day listening tour of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
Earlier this year, the Utah Legislature led efforts to encourage the federal government to allow more state control in the management of our lands. Speaker Hughes sponsored H.C.R. 11, Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation, which urged the new administration to rescind the 1.35 million acre monument created by the previous administration in December 2016. Rep. Mike Noel sponsored H.C.R. 12, Concurrent Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to allow greater use of the lands for locals and recreationists.
“Utah took a bold step in the fight to take back management control of our public lands,” said Rep. Noel. “As a result, Utahns were provided an opportunity to give their input, through public comment and meetings, on how to manage our lands in the future.”
The status of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is still under review. Public comment to the Department of the Interior is open until July 10.
The Utah State Legislature continues to work to preserve our lands through increased local management. Local control renders communities with the ability to enhance their economies in a sustainable way and adequately support residents and their families, provide a better education system, protect historic and culturally significant sites and reduce restrictions on recreational use of the land.
The Trump administration is taking steps to reduce federal overreach and bring some control back to state and local governments.
On June 8, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3353, which aims to improve sage-grouse conservation and increase collaboration, cooperation and communication between federal and Western state governments. One-size-fits-all protection of sage grouse does not work because of the vastly different habitats in which the bird can be found. The review of the sage grouse plan provides states, and those closest to the issue, the opportunity to devise solutions that protect the ground-nesting bird without hindering local economic opportunities.
We were thrilled that Utah was able to add yet another strong official to this administration with the appointment of Greg Sheehan as the new Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sheehan has a proven record and more than 25 years of experience in wildlife and natural resource management. He has earned respect from conservation organizations for his leadership, advocacy and dedication to preserving wildlife, and will be an effective leader in Washington.
We are excited to continue to work with Secretary Zinke and the rest of President Trump’s administration in this effort to preserve our lands, increase local management and provide economic prosperity for all citizens of Utah.