Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Utah's GOP delegation fires back over public land access

Utah's GOP congressional delegation hopes to protect the state from future national monument designations by presidential executive order, asserting the Beehive State has been "honored enough" with such declarations. The Utah Lands Sovereignty Act prohibits the creation of any new national monuments within Utah except as authorized by Congress, essentially exempting Utah — like Wyoming — from The Antiquities Act.  "While I am not necessarily opposed to national monuments, I do not support efforts to create new designations, locking up thousands of acres of land, without the support of our local communities, residents and stakeholders," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the act's sponsor and the current chairman of the House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. It was the Antiquities Act that gave President Bill Clinton the ability to create of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996, which set aside nearly 2 million acres in southern Utah as protected wilderness. That surprise declaration still stings and is a fulcrum of resentment for many state elected leaders and county commissioners in Utah, who say they were given no voice in a "sweeping" declaration that stripped away livelihoods and local land use decisions. "I am sure they (the GOP delegation) are just not trusting enough in light of what Clinton did on the Grand Staircase and the shenanigans" of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar with Secretarial Order No. 3310, said San Juan County Commission Chairman Bruce Adams...more

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