Gov. Gary R. Herbert sent a letter to President Barack Obama today strongly urging the president to not use unilateral executive authority to designate a national monument in Utah.
Instead, the Governor is encouraging the Obama Administration to pursue an open, public designation process to protect lands in Utah.
“There is a right way and a wrong way to determine land management decisions,” said Gov. Herbert. “Unilateral monuments are the wrong way. Ground-up, open, public processes are the right way.”
For over two years, Congressman Rob Bishop and Congressman Jason Chaffetz have spearheaded the Public Lands Initiative, an open, collaborative effort to resolve many long-standing challenges, including potential areas being considered for monument designation. This process has incorporated the views of a diverse group of more than 100 stakeholders, including the environmental and business communities, as well as state, county, Native American, and federal officials in an effort to craft federal legislation that would strike the appropriate balance between preservation and development. An Antiquities Act designation would undermine these important working relationships and future progress.
Utah’s previous experience with a unilateral monument designation when President Clinton designated the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
“Nearly two decades later, this designation continues to be a source of mistrust, frustration, and acrimony toward the federal government among local residents,” said Gov. Herbert. “I am certain that another presidential monument in Utah will likewise result in decades of resentment and conflict.”
Full text of the letter is available here.