Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lee, other Utah officials hosting Bear Ears hearing

Concerned about the likelihood that President Barack Obama will declare a new 1.9 million-acre Bear Ears national monument in eastern Utah, Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and other state leaders are meeting in Blanding Wednesday for a congressional field hearing to ask for more time to pass a legislative alternative. Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and others are slated to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is holding its field hearing just two weeks after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spent four days in Utah and came away saying she had concerns about the lack of protections for an area rich in archaeological importance and considered sacred to many.  Lee, like the majority of the state’s Republican leadership, has backed the Public Lands Initiative developed by Bishop and Rep. Jason Chaffetz as an alternative to monument designation. Arguing their bill would better balance development and recreation with new protections, the two congressmen say they held more than 1,200 meetings with stakeholders to craft legislation that would allow more local influence on what happens in the area around Bear Ears, along with some 18 million acres of federally-owned land spread across seven Utah counties...more

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