Friday, February 19, 2010
Two more monuments planned in Utah?
Rep. Rob Bishop says he has unearthed plans by the Obama administration to wield its power to designate multiple new national monuments in the West, including two that would snatch up thousands of acres in Utah. That revelation by the Utah Republican set off a firestorm of criticism Thursday from congressional and state leaders in the Beehive State -- although the Interior Department insists the document on which Bishop bases his allegation is simply a draft memo outlining lands that may, in the future, deserve protection. Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff says Secretary Ken Salazar asked the department's bureaus to identify areas that might be worth further study as possible management areas or spots for Congress to step in and designate as protected. "The preliminary internal discussion draft reflects some brainstorming discussions within [Bureau of Land Management], but no decisions have been made about which areas, if any, might merit more serious review and consideration," Barkoff said. "Secretary Salazar believes new designations and conservation initiatives work best when they build on local efforts to better manage places that are important to nearby communities." The seven-page document states that "further evaluations should be completed prior to any final decision," including gauging congressional and public support...read more