“I expect he’s the president until January 20th when we put a new one in office. He has all of those powers that come with being president,” said Herbert. “I think it’s kinda bad form to do those things as you are on the way out the door.”
There are rumors that Obama could make the monument designation on December 23, which would be the Friday before the long Christmas holiday weekend. Herbert says if it goes down that way, it simply shows Obama knows the decision is not popular.
“I think it would be unfortunate if they would do it on a Friday before Christmas. That would indicate some lack of transparency and some lack of willingness to address the issues that those opposed to the monument are putting out on the table.”
The most recent UtahPolicy.com survey about the Bears Ears finds 60% of Utahns opposed to President Obama creating the new monument in Southeastern Utah.
Rep. Rob Bishop has suggested that President-elect Donald Trump could roll back any monument designation made by previous presidents once he takes office, which could include not only a Bears Ears Monument but the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument established by President Clinton. Herbert says that’s a little extreme, but it would help cut down on what some see as the abuse of the Antiquities Act.
“President Obama has done a lot environmentally. He’s declared 23 national monuments already. He’s enhanced four others. That’s 27 national monuments he’s been involved with. Over 550 million acres he’s set aside with the Antiquities Act. I don’t know why he would need to do one more.”