Wednesday, May 03, 2017

National monuments harm the economy, Utah public lands official tells Congress

National monument designations in Utah have harmed the economy and way of life for communities abutting them, killing jobs and harming ranchers, the head of Utah's public-lands office testified before Congress on Tuesday. "Any perceived benefits from the designation of huge landscape monuments need to be weighed against the impacts suffered by those who have traditionally used the lands," Kathleen Clarke, the former Bureau of Land Management director and now head of the Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office, told a House Natural Resources subcommittee. "Landscapes don't disappear, but jobs and artifacts do." "The creation of these huge monuments has unnecessarily had significant and negative impacts upon the traditional uses of these lands and upon the lives and livelihoods of the local populations that have stewarded the lands for generations," said Clarke, who was BLM head under former President George W. Bush. Clarke's testimony doesn't square with two studies on the issue. One by Headwaters Economics concluded that designation of the Grand Staircase did not significantly change economic growth trends seen in surrounding areas, with rising population, jobs and per capita income. Another study, by Utah State University, found that the Grand Staircase declaration had little or no effect on host counties' economic situation...more

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