Political Insiders Not Sure Bears Ears can be Undone

Bears EarsEven before President Barack Obama created the new Bears Ears National Monument, Utah’s members of Congress and other Utah Republicans have been arguing that the designation can and should be undone.

Our “Political Insiders” aren’t so sure Republicans will be able to undo the monument.

A slight majority of the Republicans in our survey (53%) say that either President-elect Donald Trump or the Republican-controlled Congress will be able to reverse the monument designation, while the Democrats on our panel and a majority of our readers say they won’t.


Selected anonymous comments:

“I’m pretty certain the Trump administration can reverse it. It should be reversed. This was more anti-economic hubris.”

“No, they will not stop or reverse it, but they will fundraise off of it.”

“I notice that the final acreage of the monument is very close to that proposed by Rep. Stewart and not that proposed by most of the environmental groups, so it may be difficult for the Republicans to complain too loudly. The only big differences are in the amount of land available for extractive-mineral development, and in who has control: the county commissions or the Indian tribes plus the BLM. Our Congressional delegation would do well to work on the best ways to use this rather spectacular piece of real estate to develop the area as yet another of Utah’s natural treasures. In the long run, that will give a better return than the short-term oil, gas, and mineral extraction businesses.”

“The monument should stay. The land can still be used for lots of things, but it can never be recovered once it’s been lost. This keeps public lands public forever. It’s pretty cool.”

“Yes, they will be able to alter the monument. There is so much local opposition; it can be an easy win for the Trump administration.”

“They will spend all their energy and political capital trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

“They weren’t able to do it with Grand Staircase, and they won’t be able to now.”

“I have yet to hear any serious discussion of amending the Antiquities Act, which is likely the only mechanism for opening that door.”

“Because this designation was done in the dark of night at the last hour (so the Obama folks won’t be there to see it through), and because a new administration is coming in which is hell-bent on throwing everything “Obama” into the dumpster, there is a good chance this train can be stopped before it leaves the station. I predict that ultimately there will still be a monument, but it will be much, much smaller. The remainder of the land will be addressed in Bishop’s PLI.”

“I have no idea, but I hope not.”

“There is historical precedence for boundary alterations.”

“No, but they will waste a lot of money trying.”

“Bad move. Most locals didn’t want it. The Potus promised five tribes a seat at the table for public lands, and they threw the locals under the bus.”

“Sadly, it appears that the Republicans can do (or undo) anything that they want.”

“Wish they could. Look at the Escalante Grand Staircase, not one official representing Utah was aware until it happened. Nothing has ever been done.”

“My answer is certainly qualified. It will take a lot of work to get it done. Unless they are trying to destroy Hillary, Republicans have a short attention span.”

“I don’t know if the Bears Ears edict can or will be undone. The best thing that can happen now is that Congress can discuss and debate the action as they should have done anyway. In the first place, President Obama should have given the proposal to Congress. Then, committees in the body could work through it. A compromise (if needed) could be passed by the House and sent to the Senate etc. That could relieve most of the angst and rancor, and we can move on. Oh, my heck! Congress could actually do something for a change, and the President could stop (1) second-guessing Congress, and (2) overreaching Congressional authority. The past eight years of this baloney from both sides of the equation is beyond ridiculous!”

“I doubt it will be completely undone, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is modified, perhaps significantly.”

“I do not think that most members of Congress see dismantling a national monument as an issue with much political upside.”

“I hope not. The monument is for all Americans not just Utah developers.”

“They can. The question is will they? The GOP is, for the most part, a bunch of pansies. A lot of talk, no action. It’s too bad…”

“I sure hope they can’t. I don’t put anything past these despicable people.”

“A reduction, maybe. But a reversal? No. The land was federal to begin with. Just give up and move on Utah.”

“No court has ever undone a monument designation.”