House Democratic Caucus Leader Brian King released the following statement during dueling press events regarding the possible designation of a Bears Ears National Monument:
“This is no midnight monument. Our Governor has been in talks with the Interior department since 2010, discussing areas surrounding the Bears Ears and how best to protect those sacred sites. Our entire congressional delegation has engaged in conversations with Secretary Jewell, President Obama, and their legislative colleagues about their Public Lands Initiative. The problem here is that our Congressional delegation failed, despite controlling both the House of Representatives and Senate. They ignored the people of the land, they gave lip service to others, and decided that ideology was more important than the people and the places they were elected to represent.
They cannot, and should not, be allowed to pass the buck again. When Utah Navajos and Utes went to them and were brushed off, when citizens around the state called to them to work to protect this world class, irreplaceable space, they came up with a plan that was acceptable to no one. The President recognizes the importance and the need to preserve this area, to create a plan with local input that will produce a sustainable economic future for the area and the surrounding populations. This is the right and responsible thing to do.”