Our “Political Insiders” say it’s a foregone conclusion that President Barack Obama will declare the Bears Ears area a new national monument.
The possible designation of the area as a new national monument under the Antiquities Act is a source of much controversy. Recently, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell toured the region and expressed shock at how little protection there was for the site. Rep. Rob Bishop has proposed a management plan that would strike a balance between development, recreation and protection for Bears Ears.
We asked our panelists whether they thought the president would set aside the 1.9 million acres permanently. Across the board, the answer was a resounding “yes.” 67% of the Republicans on our panel along with 83% of the Democrats think it’s a fait accompli that the president will make Bears Ears a national monument before the end of his term. 74% of our readers agreed.
Selected anonymous comments:
“I think he will do what I hope he will do – save this beautiful, meaningful land for all Americans, saving it from exploitation by Utah’s short sighted leaders.”
“I believe that Barack Obama has already made the decision to designate the monument and by doing so will undermine both the public legislative process which has birthed the PLI and the wishes of the locals in San Juan County.”
“The federal government is pretending to listen but in the end, the course is set.”
“Secretary Jewel didn’t spend three days in San Juan County for nothing. She came with the intent to lay the groundwork for an announcement. The Utah Delegation scrambled to quickly release their Public Lands Initiative to thwart the effort, but even though it is 100 times better, and has 1,000 times more local input, it will probably be to no avail. The PLI simply can’t move through Congress quickly enough. Obama will sign the Monument order before leaving office.”
“Of course, he will because nobody seems to care what us local people (Blanding) want! At least the residents of San Juan County ought to be able to vote on it!”
“I have watched this closely since I became aware of it during the special legislative session. The people who live there do NOT want this monument.”
“The Bishop alternative has too many poison pills for the future and without any real alternative, I think the President will act to protect the resources associated with the Bears Ears.”
“Obama always sides with the extremist left so the environmentalists will see a new national monument that residents oppose.”
“Barack Obama will continue to pander to the most radical fringe of the Democratic Party and will completely ignore the will of the people in the very State he will designate the national monument in. Bill Clinton did it, and so will Barack Obama.”
“Yes, Obama will most likely declare it a national monument sometime in November of this year.”
“It’s about politics – not preservation.”
“Gov. Herbert’s 7+ years of inaction on the transfer of public lands will be to blame.”
“My hunch is he’ll reduce the acreage as some sort of compromise. But then again, that won’t make the anti-fed people any less angry, so maybe not!”
“Consider this logic….We need to protect this sacred area, and the best way to do so will be to encourage massive numbers of tourists to visit without any new funding for law enforcement (which would require Congressional action).”