Sunday, July 26, 2015

Is Obama planning another Utah federal land grab?

People in Utah are still angry President Bill Clinton's declaration of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument under the Antiquities Act. Utah's congressional delegation was given just a day's notice above the action--which blocked energy and mineral exploration on nearly two million acres of land.

Is President Obama planning a similar move? Several top officials attended an Native American meeting at Bears Ears in southern Utah, east of Grand Staircase, which has raised eyebrows there.

From the Deseret News:
The proposal is charged with controversy and any move by the Obama administration to unilaterally protect the region would likely set off an explosive political reaction. There are still bitter memories in southern Utah of a similar political uproar when President Bill Clinton designated the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996.

"They're stealing our lands from us. I think we've been really good stewards of it," said Brent Johansen who represents a group of ATV enthusiasts called SPEAR, San Juan Public Entry & Access Rights, which stands in opposition to the protection plan.

"It's a fight," Johansen said. "It really is."

Among the Obama administration officials who attended the unusual inter-tribal gathering was Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. Also in attendance were Steven A. Ellis, deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management, and Arthur “Butch” Blazer, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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