Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has released his interim report on Bears Ears National Monument.
His recommendations include reducing the size of the monument and seeking congressional approval authorizing tribal co-management of the monument and designation of areas that fall outside the revised monument as national conservation or recreation areas. Sec. Zinke has extended the public comment period to July 10.
Proponents of the existing Bears Ears and other national monuments say that public lands create jobs and protect America's cultural and historic legacy. Opponents of the current version of Bears Ears are saying that the national monument is a federal land grab, that the monument is too big, and that it’s impairing the area’s economy.
We talked opponents and advocates alike on an extended edition of Access Utah. Our guests included:
Robert Keiter, professor of law at the University of Utah, who laid out the details of judicial precedent regarding the Antiquities Act
Utah Rep. Mike Noel of Kanab, who argued the monument designation comes with "added restrictions, added costs," and added "bureaucratic hurdles" that make it more difficult to manage the land
Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, who called Zinke's assessment that certain areas of the monument bore no evidence of Native American cultural significance wrong and argued the land itself is a cultural artifact.
Bruce Adams, a San Juan County commissioner, who said he worried the designation would not protect the land but would instead "draw more people to the area who can damage those cultural sites."
Chris Saeger, director of the Western Values Project, who said land designated for the Bears Ears National Monument "still belongs to all Americans" and that the designation just calls for a "change in management."
We also heard from a selection of engaged and passionate listeners from across the state. Additional comments can still be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or the Access Utah Facebook page, or tweeted to @upraccess.