Concurrent Resolutions Urging the President to Rescind and/or Modify National Monuments in Utah








Chief Sponsor: Gregory H. Hughes

Senate Sponsor: ____________

10     General Description:
11          This concurrent resolution urges the President of the United States to rescind the Bears
12     Ears National Monument designation.
13     Highlighted Provisions:
14          This resolution:
15          ▸     expresses strong opposition to the Bears Ears National Monument designation; and
16          ▸     urges the President of the United States to rescind the Bears Ears National
17     Monument.
18     Special Clauses:
19          None

21     Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
22          WHEREAS, the state of Utah is a public lands state, committed to conservation and
23     continued recreational access for hunters, anglers, campers, and other recreationists, as well as
24     allowing for productive uses, including agriculture, timber production, and energy and natural
25     resource development;
26          WHEREAS, the Legislature and the Governor are committed to the health, protection,
27     preservation, and productivity of, and access to, the public lands within our state;

28          WHEREAS, roughly 66% of the land within the sovereign state of Utah is presently
29     controlled by the federal government;
30          WHEREAS, 38 non-western states in the Union govern and exercise their
31     constitutional jurisdiction over virtually all the land within their borders, and the legislatures
32     and the governors of those states tend to the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens;
33          WHEREAS, on December 28, 2016, President Barack Obama designated the Bears
34     Ears National Monument, limiting public access to 1.35 million acres in San Juan County,
35     Utah;
36          WHEREAS, every member of Utah’s congressional delegation publically opposed the
37     designation of the Bears Ears National Monument;
38          WHEREAS, the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument sets a dangerous
39     precedent of allowing special interest groups to unduly influence the monument designation
40     process and silence local voices;
41          WHEREAS, local Native American groups with historical ties to the area have passed
42     resolutions opposing the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument;
43          WHEREAS, San Juan County commissioner Rebecca Bennally, whose constituency
44     includes members of the Navajo Nation who live in San Juan County, and the entire San Juan
45     County Commission, opposed the monument designation and unanimously passed a resolution
46     expressing their opposition;
47          WHEREAS, every city council in San Juan County has passed a resolution opposing
48     the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument;
49          WHEREAS, counties across the state have passed resolutions standing unitedly with
50     San Juan County in opposition to the Bears Ears National Monument;
51          WHEREAS, every member of the Utah State Legislature representing San Juan County
52     opposed the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument;
53          WHEREAS, the Legislature passed a resolution last summer expressly opposing the
54     creation of the Bears Ears National Monument, with the Governor concurring therein;
55          WHEREAS, Governor Gary R. Herbert wrote to the President of the United States in
56     August 2015 and in February 2016 urging him not to use the Antiquities Act to designate
57     another national monument in Utah;
58          WHEREAS, Governor Gary R. Herbert noted that another monument designation

59     would “inflame passion, spur divisiveness, and ensure perpetual opposition”;
60          WHEREAS, the Antiquities Act limits a presidential monument designation to the
61     “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected”;
62          WHEREAS, the Bears Ears National Monument is almost twice the size of the state of
63     Rhode Island;
64          WHEREAS, once-thriving rural Utah communities and their citizens are suffering
65     economic deprivation at the hand of their own federal government, which a national monument
66     tourism economy fails to alleviate;
67          WHEREAS, the power granted to the president to designate national monuments under
68     the Antiquities Act has been exploited and abused by presidents of both parties for over a
69     century;
70          WHEREAS, newly designated monuments averaged 15,573 acres in 1906 when the
71     Antiquities Act was signed into law but, in the year 2016, have averaged 739,305 acres, which
72     is more than 47 times the size of those created 110 years ago;
73          WHEREAS, because only western states have large areas of federal land within their
74     borders, use of the Antiquities Act by presidents to designate millions of acres of land as
75     national monuments disparately impacts western states;
76          WHEREAS, Utah is 50th in the nation in per pupil spending due to the large portion of
77     the state that is held as federal land and not subject to property tax;
78          WHEREAS, considerable funding for the Utah public education system comes from the
79     responsible development of our abundant natural resources and other economic uses of our
80     public lands;
81          WHEREAS, continued opportunity for multiple uses of our public lands is vital to the
82     economies of San Juan County and the state of Utah, providing tax revenue that supports
83     students’ education statewide;
84          WHEREAS, within the sweep of President Obama’s Bears Ears National Monument
85     designation is 109,000 acres of school and institutional trust land designated to produce
86     funding for our school children;
87          WHEREAS, Utah is already home to five national parks and seven national
88     monuments;
89          WHEREAS, all or part of four national monuments, one national park, and one national

90     recreation area are located in San Juan County;
91          WHEREAS, San Juan County, despite the presence of these national monuments,
92     parks, and recreation areas, is the poorest county in the state and among the most economically
93     depressed in the nation;
94          WHEREAS, Navajos in San Juan County experience some of the highest rates of
95     unemployment in the state;
96          WHEREAS, rural economies depend on multiple uses of our public lands for
97     sustenance and growth;
98          WHEREAS, the Bears Ears National Monument designation will forever remove the
99     possibility of economic development and decimate the economy of the region with impacts felt
100     around the state;
101          WHEREAS, citizens in rural Utah deserve the equal opportunity to pursue happiness
102     through the protection of their life, liberty, property, and right to determine their own destiny
103     unimpeded by their own federal government;
104          WHEREAS, San Juan County residents, including local Native American tribes, fear
105     that woodcutting, pinion gathering, traditional religious and cultural practices, and a host of
106     other historical uses of the area will be restricted or entirely prohibited; and
107          WHEREAS, San Juan County’s Natural Bridges National Monument prohibits
108     woodcutting, and grazing has declined by almost a third in Grand Staircase-Escalante National
109     Monument despite a presidential promise that grazing would “remain at historical levels”;
110          WHEREAS the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which
111     are charged with managing the Bears Ears National Monument, have a combined deferred
112     maintenance backlog of almost $6 billion;
113          WHEREAS, these federal land management agencies clearly do not have the funding to
114     maintain the lands for which they are currently responsible; and
115          WHEREAS, Utahns are best positioned to care for and manage our public lands:
116          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
117     Governor concurring therein, strongly urges the President of the United States to rescind the
118     Bears Ears National Monument designation.
119          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President of
120     the United States, Utah’s congressional delegation, the Secretary of the Department of the

121     Interior, and the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.


Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel











Chief Sponsor: Michael E. Noel

Senate Sponsor: ____________

11     General Description:
12          This concurrent resolution urges Utah’s congressional delegation to support legislative
13     actions to reduce or modify boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National
14     Monument.
15     Highlighted Provisions:
16          This resolution:
17          ▸     expresses opposition to the manner in which the Grand Staircase-Escalante National
18     Monument (GSENM) was designated;
19          ▸     identifies the benefits resulting from modified or reduced boundaries of the
20     GSENM; and
21          ▸     urges Utah’s congressional delegation to support legislative actions to reduce or
22     modify the boundaries of the GSENM.
23     Special Clauses:
24          None

26     Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
27          WHEREAS, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) was created

28     in 1996 by Presidential Proclamation 6920 without any input or support from Garfield or Kane
29     counties, their citizens, their public officials, or the state of Utah;
30          WHEREAS, the GSENM was created without consideration of roads, local economies,
31     customs, culture, and heritage;
32          WHEREAS, the GSENM has resulted in diminished grazing rights, energy and mineral
33     rights, public road access, state trust land properties, and resource use and preservation;
34          WHEREAS, for more than 20 years, the GSENM has had a negative impact on the
35     prosperity, development, economy, custom, culture, heritage, educational opportunities, health,
36     and well-being of local communities;
37          WHEREAS, establishment of the GSENM has resulted in a 44% reduction in Escalante
38     High School enrollment (from 151 to 67) since September 1996;
39          WHEREAS, establishment of the GSENM has resulted in loss of business opportunity
40     and out-migration of families, workers, and jobs;
41          WHEREAS, boundary adjustments are authorized by law and are needed to protect the
42     prosperity, health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Garfield and Kane counties;
43          WHEREAS, boundary adjustments identified by Garfield and Kane counties are
44     essential to the protection of health, safety, welfare, prosperity, custom, culture, and
45     commercial opportunities for their citizenry;
46          WHEREAS, boundary adjustments identified by Garfield and Kane counties are
47     necessary for optimizing multiple use and sustained-yield, including:
48          • access to public lands;
49          • commerce;
50          • development and protection of natural resources;
51          • traditional recreational resource values;
52          • traditional cultural and historical values;
53          • agricultural livestock and forest products industries; and
54          • other activities vital to the custom, culture, and well-being of the area;
55          WHEREAS, the designation of lands as monuments has reduced the ability to actively
56     manage for land health issues such as vegetation treatments, erosion control, water
57     management, grazing management, wildlife management activities, and invasive plant control;
58     and

59          WHEREAS, a myriad of federal laws enacted since the passage of the Antiquities Act
60     of 1906, such as the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the National Environmental
61     Policy Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Endangered Species Act,
62     can be used to protect and preserve the antiquities and other important resources in the
63     GSENM:
64          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
65     Governor concurring therein, urges Utah’s congressional delegation to support legislative
66     action to reduce or modify boundaries of the GSENM to the minimum area necessary to protect
67     antiquities identified in Presidential Proclamation 6920.
68          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and Governor direct Garfield and
69     Kane counties to consult with the Bureau of Land Management and create mapping of the
70     minimum acreage necessary to protect antiquities identified in Presidential Proclamation 6920.


Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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