Conservative think tank Sutherland Institute authored the resolution urging President Donald Trump to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument. Lawmakers fast-tracked the resolution through the first days of the 2017 Utah Legislature.
E&E News reports that an open-records request by a Montana-based government watchdog found that Sutherland authored HCR 11, which was sponsored by House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy. Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, acknowledged to the publication that Sutherland was the source of the legislation.
"There were a lot of other groups that had input: Farm Bureau, Association of Counties," Ivory said. "Particularly on issues that affect 1.35 million acres, that lock up 109,000 acres of school trust lands, that seize 14,000 acres of private land, there were a number of people very interested that we reached out to and that would have had input in the process."
According to the documents provided by the Western Values Project, Ivory directed state aides tasked with writing legislation to contact Sutherland Policy Analyst Matt Anderson "for language" on the resolution.
"I'm drafting your resolution regarding Bears Ears, except I still haven't received the draft language from Matt Anderson," Utah State Legislature Policy Analyst Megan Bolin wrote to Ivory in late-January. "I contacted Matt on the 12th and he said he was working on the language and would get it to me soon. I'll try to contact Matt again, and I can come meet you as well, if needed. Let me know."
The Sutherland Institute, which is headed by Boyd Matheson, former chief of staff to Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R), noted that Utah lawmakers "regularly reach out" to the group for its expertise.