Friday, September 23, 2016

Utah voters split on Bears Ears monument as leaders dig in to fight it

Utah's elected leaders and some members of the Navajo Nation argued Wednesday against presidential action to name a Bears Ears National Monument, saying the communities that will be impacted in the southeastern corner of the state are tired of federal overreach. "We don't want it. We don't need it," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said outside the U.S. Capitol, surrounded by five members of Utah's federal delegation and three American Indians from San Juan County. "It will, in fact, not bring us together; it will, in fact, pull us apart." The pushback against a monument designation comes as a new Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows Utahns are split over a new national monument, with about 43 percent opposing the idea and 40 percent backing it. About 17 percent were unsure. Utahns younger than 35 favored a monument by clear majorities, while a plurality of older residents opposed it. The debate is intensifying as President Barack Obama's tenure nears an end. An Interior Department official this week told The Tribune that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told Gov. Gary Herbert she feels an "urgent" need to protect the area and its tens of thousands of archaeological sites. The comment may hint at action in the coming months by Obama, who has unilateral power to name a monument under the 1906 Antiquities Act...more

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