Biden Administration Ignores Utah Communities, Opts for Bloated National Monument Designations
Washington, October 8, 2021 | Elizabeth Daniels (202-280-8720)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Biden took yet another step toward misguided preservation and mismanagement of lands and resources in Utah by expanding the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument from 201,000 acres to 1.37 million acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from 1 million acres to 1.87 million acres.
“Instead of listening to the concerns of Utah’s communities, tribes, and conservation partners, the Biden Administration – unsurprisingly – opted to enlarge two National Monuments to match and even further inflate President Obama’s already bloated boundaries,” said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “Locking up millions of acres of land under this preservationist designation while ignoring the benefits of locally-led land management will only create a deeper divide within the state and will jeopardize the landscapes, natural resources, and recreation access that Utahns and visitors enjoy. It is ridiculous that President Biden and Secretary Haaland would take this step – wholly disregarding the input from local land users and community leaders – and I sincerely hope they will change their ways when developing land management plans for these two expanded monuments.”
Utah’s entire congressional delegation, including Vice Chairs Chris Stewart (UT-02) and John Curtis (UT-03) and Western Caucus Members Reps. Blake Moore (UT-01) and Burgess Owens (UT-04), issued the following joint statement:
“President Biden is delivering a devastating blow to the ongoing efforts by our delegation, along with state, local, and tribal leaders, to find a permanent, legislative solution to resolve the longstanding dispute over the boundaries and management of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Rather than take the opportunity to build unity in a divided region and bring resources and lasting protections to sacred antiquities by seeking a mutually beneficial and permanent legislative solution, President Biden fanned the flames of controversy and ignored input from the communities closest to these monuments. We will continue to support efforts to ensure that our monuments’ boundaries and management reflect the unique stakeholder interest and uses in the area, but today’s ‘winner take all’ mentality moved us further away from that goal.”
Earlier this week, Chairman Newhouse visited Cedar Breaks National Monument in Vice Chair Stewart’s district. In juxtaposition to President Biden’s irresponsible expansion of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Cedar Breaks is an appropriately-sized and well-managed National Park Service site, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, that contributes to local tourism and economic development in the region.