Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: A New National Monument in Utah?

President Obama says he’s “not done” when it comes to using the Antiquities Act to set aside federal land for protection. Many people think that means he’s going to create a new national monument in Utah.

Our “Political Insiders” on both sides of the aisle think that’s probably going to happen. 88% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats think it’s likely that Obama will use his executive power to create a national monument in Utah. Our readers are quite as confident, with 78% saying it’s likely.

Selected anonymous comments:

“What does he have to lose? Utah Republicans can’t possibly hate him more than they already do, and he’ll generate a bunch of money for liberal causes from environmentalists on either coast.”

“Hopefully he will. In Utah, the only hope we have for a balanced land use policy is for a powerful actor from out of state to step in and provide actual balance.”

“Once the president sees the undeniable beauty and uniqueness of Canyonlands, how could he not want to protect it?”

“No downside for Obama he is not very popular in Utah, only upside with his core supporters.”

“Given the federal government’s propensity for gobbling up our land, it will happen eventually unfortunately.”

“Congressman Bishop has said that Secretary Jewell supports what he is trying to do with his public lands initiative and that the president will let that process play out. I really hope he’s right. Rationality has hardly been a hallmark of this administration, though.”

“The President knows that there is tremendous public and political support for a ton of other national monuments around the country. Since Congress is failing to pass any land protection bills, he is likely to move forward on the ones that have a high majority of public support, but not on one that is so politically charged by the anti-conservation Republicans in Congress.”

“I hope so. The oil, gas and fracking far exceeds Utah’s need for energy. Let’s go with more sustainable energy development instead and utilize the tourism that our National Parks bring.”

“I would think he’d do it after the elections if possible, so as not to make waves.”

“He should do that and more, as fast as he can. Nothing else will stop the Utah GOP from slamming oil derricks down on every available surface.”

“We need to make sure that that our fine legislators like Ken Ivory, Mike Noel and all the hate feds group has something to complain about during the next legislative session.”

“His overreach and lack of Constitutional law knows no bounds.”

“We’ll have another 10 Cliven Bundys if Obama goes down this road.”

“This is a way President Obamas can both thank his supporters and punish Utah for the way it has treated him. He would do this out of spite.”

“Politically it makes perfect sense for him to designate at least one very large monument in Utah.”

“The right-wing Repubs in Utah have opposed Obama in everything else – I think they have lost any chance to influence his actions here. Besides, if you look at the economic development in S. Utah from the Escalante Grand Staircase N.M., it’s likely that at least the same amount of good will come from, for example, Greater Canyonlands. What’s not to like?”

“Once the November election is over, it’s likely to happen pretty damn quickly.”

“He cannot work with Congress to do things the way our Constitution intended things be done so he has to do something to claim a legacy.”

“I’m grateful for Rob Bishop and him standing up for the state. Hopefully Orrin Hatch will be able to use all of that seniority he ran on to to stop this thing. Unfortunately, I don’t think anything can stop Obama from doing whatever he wants.”

“Process matters in these situations and the people of our state should have a voice in the process. Though the Sierra Club and other environmentalists will try to scare people into believing we are ready to destroy our natural resources, we should engage in a productive dialogue to protect areas that should be protected while opening the abundant, less scenic and less historically rich areas for other purposes.”

“Obama should involve Utahns in this decision.”

“Obama is way more likely to bomb ISIS or arm the Kurds than use the Antiquities Act to steal Utah’s land from it’s citizens…oh, wait.”

“Lets see how powerful Hatch and Bishop are to stop it……doubt they will.”

“Why not? He needs some political points for his ‘legacy.’ Can’t get anything done legislatively, so why not this? Also, in his mind, who cares if those in Utah get mad. It’s not like he’s running for re-election. Utah’s only hope in this regard is that the sole Democratic congressman (Matheson) can talk him out of it.”