Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Westerners fear Obama preparing monuments land grab

Just south of Canyonlands National Park, the redrock wonders merge into a scrubland oasis with a peak that juts 11,000 feet into the sky. Mesas and buttes provide panoramic views and canyons, and ancient cliff dwellings offer a unique retreat. It’s a region that holds sacred and historic value to the Navajo Nation, which has pitched Congress on creating the Diné Bikéyah National Conservation Area to protect the 1.9 million acres in San Juan County from development. But as with most things involving Congress, inaction has been the order of the day. Even as supporters of a conservation area remain hopeful, they’re ready for Plan B: Asking President Barack Obama for a national monument. Willie Grayeyes, and other members of the nonprofit Utah Diné Bikéyah, traveled recently to Washington to lobby Interior Department officials to designate the region north of the San Juan River and just outside the Navajo Reservation as a monument. "The Utah delegates are only fumbling the ball. They aren’t really tackling it," Grayeyes said. A monument is a logical fallback to congressional designation, under which many of the current uses could continue. That commitment has some in the West fearing more intrusion by the federal government into their backyard, undermining locally driven efforts to decide the future of public lands. That fear isn’t without precedent. "It makes me worried that [the president will] just ignore the wishes of the people of Utah and just do what he wants to — like Clinton did," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a recent Salt Lake Tribune interview. "Sometimes he does act unilaterally."...more

The Salt Lake Tribune article had this side bar:

Possible candidates for national monument status
Alpine Lakes – Washington
Berryessa Snow Mountain – California
Boulder-White Clouds – Idaho
Desolation Canyon – Eastern Utah
Diné Bikéyah – San Juan County, Utah
Gold Butte – Nevada
Greater Canyonlands — Southeastern Utah
Organ Mountains – New Mexico
Rocky Mountain Front – Montana
San Gabriels – California
San Rafael Swell – Emery County, Utah
Tule Springs – Nevada

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