SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Utah Monday reportedly intends to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by half. Maps of the expected changes were leaked to the Washington Post appear to split the two huge Monuments into several smaller monuments.
- Bears Ears: from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres
- Grand Staircase: from nearly 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres
We expect the White House to confirm details of the event before the end of the week at an event to be held at the Utah Capitol. Senator Hatch (R, Utah) believes the proclamation from the president “will represent a balanced solution and a win for everyone on all sides of the issue”. Grand County Council Vice Chairwoman Mary McGann called the Trump administration’s expected decision “heartbreaking” and that it shows a “total lack of vision” and respect for the land, and it somehow dishonors the tribes who favor a monument. Ironically, the Natives which favor the monument are almost universally NOT affected by Monuments, most of which are out-of-state.
A majority of Native Americans in San Juan County oppose the Bears Ears National Monument and have actively voiced their opposition through resolutions, protests, and other grassroots efforts.
We, the Utah Republican Native American Caucus, welcome the expected changes but argue they may not be enough. Citing Planks from the Platform of the Utah Republican Party (emphasis added):
We recognize the rights of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without an overwhelming need for public use. We strongly oppose the forfeiture of private property from innocent owners.
Reaffirmation of States’ Rights
We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive federal mandates.
We recognize the contributions made to our quality of life through ethnic diversity.
We appreciate the quality of our environment. Our air, water, and land are at the heart of our existence and must be protected through balanced management. We support reasonable laws and volunteer efforts to improve air and water quality. We continue to seek responsible solutions to controversies surrounding uses of our wilderness. We seek to preserve the environment while serving the best interests of our Utah citizens. We oppose as unconstitutional the declaration by any President without approval from Congress of any large tract of land as a national monument. We call on the Governor of the State of Utah to use the Constitutional Defense Fund and other resources at his disposal to bring any such declaration affecting Utah before the United States Supreme Court for reversal.