Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

I am a resident of Wayne County, Utah, who is opposed to the president’s reduction of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, just over Boulder Mountain from my home.

Chris Stewart is my representative in Congress, but in this matter, he does not represent me, my friends or neighbors who want to protect this beautiful land that we wish to protect for the enjoyment of all Americans — its rightful owners. Rep. Stewart’s bill serves only the interests of the extractive industries — industries that have already done much damage to the natural and cultural treasures located in Utah — all in service of dying energy interests that fund his political campaigns, and not the wishes of his constituents.

The American people have always owned these lands — whether the original Native Americans or the citizens of the United States — and they need to remain available for the common good of all people, not the financial profit of a few.

Additionally, what is the point of sequestering and honoring sensitive resources and archaeologically important native sites if that designation can be reversed on a whim?

I end by quoting Angel Baca from Utah Diné Bikéyah, who reminds us that these lands have “been since time immemorial a place of peace and rest, a sanctuary undisturbed by the kind of colonial violence many other places faced. A revitalization and renewal of spirit prevails here and, like the monument, must be kept intact so that healing, of wounds past and present, can take root and grow.”

Barry Morgenstern

Torrey, Wayne County