Friday, December 16, 2016

Herbert and Utah’s Congressmen Circle the Wagons Over Bear’s Ears

Due to persistent rumours that native tribal leaders have been in final negotiations with President Barack Obama during the last few weeks of his presidency, on Thursday Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s monthly press conference was extended to include Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. All were on hand to condemn the possible use of the Antiquities Act by President Barack Obama to protect BLM land in the state’s San Juan County as another National Monument. Quick to condemn that kind of executive action on authority given by congress 110 years before, all three of Utah’s statesmen assembled at the press event said that Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI), introduced after months of negotiations with local stakeholders, was still their preference for protection, even though the bill has not been introduced to the (current) 114th congress which will adjourn in less than a week, resuming briefly before Inauguration Day. Governor Herbert indicated that he had spoken with the President’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, on Monday, December 12, and was assured that the Beehive State’s concerns were being considered and that there was no national monument designation immediately planned by the White House. Credible rumors had resurfaced, prompting the expanded press conference at KUED studios in Salt Lake City. Herbert stressed to reporters his preference that if BLM land needs further protection it should be done legislatively, such as using the provisions outlined and discussed in Bishop’s PLI – a draft of which was announced this past summer...more

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