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Hatch speaks on the Bears Ears Monument

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Hatch: Bears Ears monument “An Attack on an Entire Way of Life”
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, issued the following statement following President Obama’s decision to designate a National Monument in the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah just 22 days before the end of his presidency:
With this astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power, President Obama has shown that far-left special interest groups matter more to him than the people who have lived on and cared for Utah’s lands for generations. For Utahns in general, and for those in San Juan County in particular, this is an affront of epic proportions and an attack on an entire way of life.
The President’s proposal, like so many others, goes well beyond the original authorities of the Antiquities Act, which was intended to give presidents only limited power to designate special landmarks, such as a unique natural arch or the site of old cliff dwellings, in anticipation of broad support from Congress. The President was never meant to set aside millions of acres against the express wishes of local communities and their elected representatives.
In the next Congress under President Trump, I will do everything in my power to reverse this travesty and send a strong message to future presidents that decisions made without local support will not be tolerated.
When I meet with Interior Secretary nominee Zinke prior to his confirmation, I will discuss the prospect of reversing this monument designation. His responses will largely determine my support for his confirmation.
I also worked with Senator Lee to sponsor legislation that will exempt Utah from Antiquities Act designations, similar to an exemption Wyoming enjoys. We will reintroduce this legislation in the 115th Congress.
As every Utahn knows, land-use decisions should be made only through a collaborative process-a process like the Public Lands Initiative-that involves those who actually live on the land and know how to manage it. There are real benefits to a thoughtfully crafted legislative approach, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to pursue a legislative solution when Congress reconvenes next month.
Senator Hatch has spent his time in public service fighting for local management of federal lands, having introduced the Western Lands Distribution and Regional Equalization Ac, a bill that would have transferred federal lands to the states, in August of 1979.
In June, Senator Hatch visited the Bears Ears area to see the site of the proposed monument and to speak to local Navajo about the effects of a monument designation.
Hatch has also written extensively about how a Bears Ears monument would be the worst kind of federal overreach.

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