President Donald Trump signed an executive order to have Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke review national monument designations and the history of the Antiquities Act, which was never intended to lock up large swathes of land as it has been used over the past two decades.
The intent of the Antiquities Act was to set aside only the smallest area necessary to protect significant archaeological or historical sites.
“I’m thankful we have a president that is sensitive to the needs of those of the West, of our great land and great people,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “This is the first step in the process of reviewing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument designations to ensure that the antiquities are preserved, while keeping the lands accessible to the Native Americans and citizens.”
During the 2017 session, Speaker Hughes sponsored H.C.R. 11, Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation. This concurrent resolution urged the new administration to remove the 1.35-million-acre monument designation made by the previous president shortly before leaving office.
“I’m grateful to live in a nation where things are not forced upon us by politicians that do not care and do not listen to what a majority of Utahns want,” said Speaker Hughes. “We now have a president that is willing to listen to the input of Utahns and discuss viable alternatives.”
Utah has endured two of the most controversial national monument designations in recent history. Nearly 70 percent of Utah is under federal management and control, and 90 percent of Utah’s population lives on just 1 percent of its land.
“The days of a president decreeing whatever he pleases despite the adverse effects it has on the people in the community are over,” said Speaker Hughes. “I am grateful that this President wants to be a partner with us in figuring out how best to preserve our lands while still providing economic opportunities for those residing in the area.”