Press Releases

Utah Elected Officials Request Meeting with President Obama

Lawmakers express strong opposition to national monument designation in Utah

Apr 29 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Utah lawmakers’ hand-delivered a letter to the White House requesting a meeting with President Obama on potential use of the Antiquities Act to create a national monument in Utah. Before delivering the letter, members of the Utah Delegation met with White House officials to discuss public land issues.
 
Letter signatures include Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R-UT), Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), Representatives Rob Bishop (UT-01), Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), Chris Stewart (UT-02), and Mia Love (UT-04), and San Juan County Commissioner Rebecca Benally.  
 
Excerpts from the letter:
 
“To further communicate our strong opposition against the unilateral creation of a national monument in the State of Utah, we respectfully request the opportunity to personally meet with you to discuss our basis for opposition.”
 
“In a February meeting with the National Governors Association, you stated that open lines of communication are needed when discussing national monument designations. To that end, we believe a meeting involving you, Governor Gary Herbert, the Congressional delegation, and Utah’s only elected Navajo official is critical to successful communication and planning.”
 
Background:
President Obama is being pressed by environmental groups to use the Antiquities Act to designate 1.9 million acres of Bears Ears in southern Utah as a national monument. Earlier this year a draft of the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) was announced as a balanced approach to land conservation. Many stakeholders, including conservation groups, continue to support PLI as the preferred alternative to a national monument.
 
 

Find the full text of the letter below:
 
April 29, 2016
 
 
Dear Mr. President,
 
It is widely known that you are considering use of the Antiquities Act to declare a national monument in the State of Utah. We have previously written to you expressing our opposition to this action. While we appreciate the Secretary of the Interior’s response to our letter, we believe it was an inadequate response, as the Department of the Interior does not possess the authority to declare a national monument.
 
To further communicate our strong opposition against the unilateral creation of a national monument in the State of Utah, we respectfully request the opportunity to personally meet with you to discuss our basis for opposition.
 
A meeting of this nature is supported by your recent public statements. In a February meeting with the National Governors Association, you stated that open lines of communication are needed when discussing national monument designations. To that end, we believe a meeting involving you, Governor Gary Herbert, the Congressional delegation, and Utah’s only elected Navajo official is critical to successful communication and planning.
 
Finally, we hope a recent meeting we had with your staff will result in a productive dialogue regarding the Public Lands Initiative (PLI). The PLI is a balanced legislative approach to land management in eastern Utah.  If passed, the PLI will establish greater land-use certainty and conserve more than four million acres of federal land.  Many groups, including conservation groups, are still at the table providing feedback and comments on the draft PLI.  The same draft was given to your staff on January 14, 2016 but thus far feedback has not been provided.
 
Thank you for your consideration. Collaborative planning is essential in the land management arena, and we look forward to meeting with you.