Is President Obama Going to Do This?

Bears Ears
Bears Ears buttes, Elk Ridge, San Juan County Utah

The Bears Ears National Monument proposal has been on the table since last year. There is some speculation that President Obama is readying a proclamation, despite a dire warning from Senator Orrin Hatch that it could result in an armed confrontation similar to the one at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The monument proposal stands on its own considerable merits. Adequate protection of the area, particularly the archaeological sites of Cedar Mesa, is long overdue. A recent poll found 71 percent of Utahns support the Bears Ears monument. Additionally, Utah politicians could stand to benefit from a well-timed reminder that we the people own our public lands, not the corporations.

Rep. Chris Stewart recently tacked an amendment onto the Interior Appropriations Bill, seeking to prohibit new national monuments in Utah.

Meanwhile, the Utah Test and Training Range Act land grab has been quietly incorporated in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act.

The Utah land grab agenda also includes Rep. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz’ Public Lands Initiative (PLI), nicknamed the “Plundered Lands Initiative” by conservation groups. The representatives are still threatening to introduce this corporate-friendly development bill in Congress.

Gov. Gary Herbert is still proceeding with a threatened lawsuit aimed at seizing 30 million acres of our Utah public lands, a doomed gesture that may cost us $14 million.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Despite the controversial 1996 proclamation by the Clinton administration, the GSENM is thriving today. Let’s hope President Obama is willing to counter the anti-public-lands Utah politicians with a resoundingly popular monument proclamation this summer.

More info:
U-Turn Utah (Center for Western Priorities)
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
Friends of Cedar Mesa
New York Times editorial: Monuments for Future Generations

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on June 20, 2016 - 6:53 pm

    I just sent a $10.00 donation to Mike Weinholtz’s campaign. I saw him a couple of weeks ago and I think he’d make a great governor, who’s concerned about our land.

    He was complaining about how Herbert had tried to get a local law firm take up his 14 million dollar goose chase, and ended up having to go out of state to find a willing partnership. I’m sure they were thinking, “heck, why not”?

    He also brought up the fact that the governor had to search pretty hard to find that handful of indigenous people who are against the plan to protect Utah and get the sad photo-op. I mean, to think Herbert actually left his closed door office and went down to be with protesters is a first.

    Because of Bernie Sanders’s new democratic registrants here in April, we might just have a chance to rid ourselves of land grab Gary, and replace him with, (perish the thought), a Democrat.

  2. #2 by Larry Bergan on June 20, 2016 - 7:02 pm

    Orrin and the rest should be ashamed of themselves to sit by, make no strong statement against serious disorder that might come from supporters of their land scheme. It is increasingly disgusting.

  3. #3 by Larry Bergan on June 21, 2016 - 10:55 am

    Oh, and Mike Weinholtz made a decision NOT to accept any corporate donations. I like that!

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on June 23, 2016 - 9:35 am

    No wonder Rob Bishop wouldn’t let this important hearing take place upstairs. He, Herbert and Hatch are inviting domestic violence and I’m sure they’d rather keep it on the down low.

    White, armed terrorists, supported by Sheriff’s and even congressional leaders are getting their hands slapped and planning for larger events then the bird refuge takeover in Oregon.

    Fascinating forum and a much more important issue then anything else being discussed in Washington:

    • #5 by Richard Warnick on June 24, 2016 - 10:48 am

      When the Bundy Gang did their terrorist takeover of the Malheur NWR, it was bad news but at least I thought it would discredit the land grabber politicians because they would not want to be seen as condoning violence.

      Nope, the politicians are shamelessly using the threat of future terrorist acts to promote their land grab agenda!

  5. #6 by Larry Bergan on June 25, 2016 - 10:11 pm

    More local government approved frivolity I suppose.

    Tooele County man indicted for trying to blow up BLM facility in Arizona

    Is KUTV calling to get statements from Herbert, Orrin, Chaffetz or Bishop?

  6. #7 by Larry Bergan on June 26, 2016 - 9:16 am

    Go Bagley!

  7. #8 by Richard Warnick on July 11, 2016 - 3:44 pm

    Showdown in Bluff this Saturday on Bears Ears NM proposal. Copy/paste from E & E News:

    NATIONAL MONUMENTS: Obama officials to converge on Utah this Saturday
    E & E News, July 11 | Phil Taylor

    A handful of top Obama administration officials will host a public meeting Saturday in southeast Utah to discuss future management of the Bears Ears region, a crucial step in a yearslong debate over how to protect the scenic and archaeologically rich landscape.

    Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie will headline the event at 1 p.m. Mountain time at the Bluff Community Center in Bluff, Utah.

    The open meeting is to discuss “community visions for the management of Southern Utah’s public lands,” according to an invitation obtained by Greenwire.

    Officials will take comments on a draft bill by House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to designate a 1.1-million-acre Bears Ears National Conservation Area and a competing proposal by American Indian tribes and conservationists for President Obama to designate a 1.9-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument.

    Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Roberts and Forest Service Associate Chief Dan Jiron are also scheduled to attend.

    The federal officials will also tour various sites in eastern Utah with community leaders, members of Utah’s delegation and local land managers “to better understand the local views related to the future of the area’s public lands,” Interior said today in a news release.
    Jewell first announced plans to visit Utah this summer in an April conservation speech in Washington, D.C.

    The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition — a partnership of the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni governments — in January formally broke from the legislative effort led by Bishop and Chaffetz, arguing their input was not being taken seriously.

    They’re urging Obama to designate a 1.9-million-acre monument surrounding Bears Ears, which refers to two sandstone buttes that rise 2,000 feet above Cedar Mesa. The monument would protect a scenic expanse of juniper and pinyon forests, winding sandstone canyons, and an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites, including Native American cliff dwellings, rock art and burial pits.

    “What we know is that everyone cares deeply about this landscape, and we all agree the rich cultural resources deserve protection,” said Willie Grayeyes, chairman of Utah Dineé Bikéyah, a Navajo conservation group that crafted the monument proposal. “It is merely a question of who can get the job done before it is too late.”

    Bishop and Chaffetz are believed to be close to introducing their bill, known as the Public Lands Initiative. The draft bill would leave far more acreage available for multiple uses like drilling, mining and motorized recreation, and is more closely in line with the vision of San Juan County’s three commissioners.

    The PLI would cover a broad swath of southern and eastern Utah, designating roughly 2.2 million acres of wilderness in several counties, creating vast motorized recreation areas, and expediting the development of oil, gas and minerals, among many other provisions.
    Jewell last month told Greenwire she was “disappointed” with the draft bill, though she did not elaborate further.

    The Wilderness Society, a major early participant in the PLI, denounced the draft bill months ago and on Saturday said its chance of passage this Congress is “slim to none.”
    “With threats from looting, vandalism and development increasing every day, it is time to recognize that President Obama must act to create the Bears Ears National Monument,” the Wilderness Society said in an email.

    Obama has invoked the Antiquities Act roughly two dozen times to protect 4 million acres of the West, an area exceeded only by Presidents Clinton and Carter. Each of his major Western monuments have been preceded by visits from high-level Cabinet officials to take public input.

    Saturday’s meeting comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the July 17, 2015, meeting at Bears Ears between Obama officials and Southwest tribal leaders to discuss potential executive protections for the lands.

  8. #9 by Larry Bergan on July 11, 2016 - 10:56 pm

    Bluff is gonna be buzzing this Saturday. Time for white asswipes to take their country back!

  9. #10 by Larry Bergan on July 13, 2016 - 11:33 am

    I wonder if Sheriff Mack is going to be there. This article is a couple of months old, but it looks like Mack is on a crusade to be sure, with lots of creepy “grass roots” organizations and people at his back. Haven’t heard of the John Birch Society for a while, but the Koch’s seem to have their fingerprints all over this in an indirect sort of way. That’s their big talent.

    Former Sheriff Richard Mack has a plan to roll back gun control, tax laws and land-use constraints, one defiant local law enforcement official at a time

(will not be published)

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