Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West

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    Sept. 22, 2017 10:18 a.m.

    @Holladay Mom,

    The designation of these national monuments did not create more federal land. Your comment seems to indicate that you believe these actions constituted a taking by the federal government from the state of Utah. Maybe you've allowed yourself to be fooled by Senator Hatch's disingenuous characterization of the designation of the Bears Ears as a 'land grab.' His statements on this issue have been unfortunately colored in a way to skew facts and generate animosity towards the monument, despite the fact that a majority of Utahns support the monument's existence.

  • Holladay Mom Holladay, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 7:53 p.m.

    Let's make a deal...

    Once every state has an equal percentage of federally owned land - in Utah it is roughly 65% - any future president can begin taking more.

    Look it up for yourselves and see that THE GREAT STATE of UTAH has contributed far-far more than its fair share to the federal land coffers.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 9:34 a.m.

    A bad idea brought to you by the GOP kleptocracy and the cosplaytriots/walmartyrs who seem to want to give away their own birthright in order to stick it to the hated 'libs'.

  • Common Sense Guy Richfield, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 8:17 a.m.

    Reply to Shaun: You are technically correct. The locals do not own the land. They do not hold title. The corporations do not technically own the land and cannot buy it either, they must do the same as the locals to use the land. I am not talking hiking or fishing in use of the land. I am talking permits. Locals and corporations acquire permits for use. Grazing, mining, logging, cutting firewood ect. So if you are still wondering how that hurts the local economy. Local companies that would like to buy a permit to harvest lumber cannot acquire a permit. Outside corporations or local corporations cannot acquire a permit to mine or drill for natural gas or oil. Local ranchers cannot acquire grazing permits, and they can't buy more land other than from each other, because it is not for sale. So without those permits to use the land, there are no projects, no job creation. These area's are already surrounded by State and Federal Lands, and there economies were set up around this permitting process, Then that was changed.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 7:03 p.m.

    This isn't local land because they do not hold title to it.

    If Utah is going to fight for federal land in Utah it should gift the land to Utah residents through a lottery. Otherwise it is just another corporate land grab.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 6:02 p.m.

    James E - that's absurd. The act only gives the secretary of the interior power to carry out what Congress had already delegated, it doesn't make the secretary of the interior into a kingmaker who can give the president whatever power he wants to bestow.

    It no more gives Zinke power to authorize the president to rescind monuments than it gives Zinke power to authorize the president to dissolve Congress and rule as sole dictator.

    You may not like the Antiquities Act, but the vast majority of Americans - and Utahns in particular - over the past 110 years have been extremely grateful for it. We're grateful for the vision Teddy Roosevelt and others had and the preservation of our national heritage it has allowed. It is a great part of our Republican conservationist heritage. Our senators at the time, Republicans Reed Smoot and George Sutherland, played important roles in establishing and expanding the forest and parks systems.

    jsf, yes, a few presidents have overreached their executive authority to take unconstitutional action. That doesn't mean it's right or constitutional. Those actions weren't challenged in court and set no precedent.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 5:52 p.m.

    Good move by Zinke

    Now for every acre of national monument land out west... We want an acre east of the Mississippi designated as national monuments... Let's see how east coast libs take the restrictions on their lands

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 4:59 p.m.

    Ron Swanson wrote:

    "Way to go, it's good to see govt succeed."

    The next step is for this thing to go to the courts. You think using the Antiquities Act to create GSENM and Bears Ears is unprecedented? Let's see what the courts say about Trump's shenanigans.

    Of course, when the courts decide that what he did was unlawful, guys like Ron Swanson will be the first to scream, "Judicial overreach! The gov't is corrupt!"

  • James E Tooele, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 2:40 p.m.

    @Prodicus - the actual text of the Antiquities Act (16 USC 431-433) Sec 2 says this: "[POTUS] is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks [etc]...the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected..."

    Then Sec 4 says, "That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid [in Sec 3] shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act." So if the Sec of the Interior publishes a rule saying Trump can reduce the area of the monument to carry out the provisions of Section 2, this action conforms to the law as written.

    Not to say I agree with this law. It is anti-democratic and a ridiculous abdication of power by the Congress, the so-called representatives of The People.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 18, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    As a lifelong GOP voter, I just wish Trump and the GOP just had some real ideas of their own rather than spending all of their time trying to undo something Obama did.

    After all these years waiting to get full control, is this the best we can expect??

    And I keep seeing people write that this would somehow give local residents more access. As if they're now shut out from being able to use any of the land in their area. Like these people in So. Utah depend on being able to drive up in the hills every day to collect firewood and hunt game to survive.

    Let's be honest: It's all about giving out of state oil & gas companies more access.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 1:54 p.m.

    Prodicus, there is precedence of Presidents changing monuments, sorry it has never been deemed a constitutional issue.

    But I'll bet they can find some liberal anti-Trump judge to try.

  • Common Sense Guy Richfield, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 12:43 p.m.

    I believe this is in the best interest of the local residents. Which should be considered. It should have been considered in the first place. I would like to quote a commercial I heard this week. Dave Ramsey said, "nothing is free you dope, someone has to pay for it" Speaking of the Grand Staircase Monument, the local residents lost much because of the decision. Question, for all of you who want the Monuments to stay the same size, did you lose anything? Did any of you lose your job, or have your family members have to move away to find employment? Does your political view put politics in front of people? Local residents paid the price for the past 30+ years. It has not been a no harm no foul policy.

    I also noticed in some of the comment what the strategy will be. Lawyer up and try to fight everything in court! That right there ought to be enough to get the silent majority to not be so silent.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    This is simply the triumph of partisan pandering over intelligent management.

    James E, jsf, and others: the difference between creating and rescinding/downsizing monuments is clear to anyone who cares about the Constitution.

    Article IV Section 3 Clause 2 of the US Constitution gives Congress - not the President or executive branch agencies - the power to make all rules and regulations about federal property. Congress doesn't want to make every single administrative regulatory decision, so it passes laws that authorize specific administrative powers.

    The Antiquities Act gave the President authority to create monuments, and it has been repeatedly found constitutional by the courts - including the creation of very large monuments. The first time it was tested in the Supreme Court was in Cameron v United States in 1920, where the creation of the more than 800,000 acre Grand Canyon National Monument was found constitutional.

    Congress retains authority to make monument designations of its own, and the Antiquities Act does not give the president authority to rescind or downsize monuments, whether created by Congress or by the President. Those powers remain with Congress.

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase are pay back to Utah for having common sense and voting against Clinton and O bama that is obvious!!

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 11:41 a.m.

    Congress didn't intend for this to be a means for candidates to curry favor and raise money.

    This act is to protect SPECIAL land.

  • Forgiveness is the Answer St George, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 11:39 a.m.

    No, that land does NOT belong to all Americans! When the Plains states were settled, the government initiated the "land rush" saying that if you go "homestead" the land, develop it, and stay on it for so many years, then the land was yours. When it came to the Rocky Mountains though, the government simply changed their policy. And so those that came here, that "homesteaded' it, developed it, built on it for a century before anyone else had any interest in it... and now the double-standard is coming to home to roost. Theses pioneers cleared the land, have built an economy around it, and now the environmentalists are "land grabbing" because it looks good and they covet it. You can take it to court, and perhaps win, but that doesn't make it honest, and I'm with the Bundy's. Those that settled the Mountains deserve the same rights as those that settled the Plains.

  • James E Tooele, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 11:23 a.m.

    Thomas Thompson - "And does the President have the unilateral authority to do this on his own? I think not."

    So when "your president" unilaterally uses his authority to change monument boundaries, it's just jim dandy but when "not-your president" does the same thing it's a criminal act? Common-sense Americans are tired of this Liberal double-standard nonsense where Trump is tarred and feathered for rightly blaming both sides in Charlottesville while Colbert literally throws out "1940's German salutes" on TV and nothin'. Crickets.

    So warm up the lawyers, put out the formulaic donor e-mails and burn all your funds ramming headlong into the battleship USS Donald Trump. Meanwhile he and his supporters will continue making America great again.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 11:15 a.m.

    "does the President have the unilateral authority to do this on his own?"

    If the lord can give it, then I would think the lord could take it away.

    If it didn't have to go through the legislative body, then the reversal does not need to go through the legislative body. If conservationists think the courts can prevent the president from reversing these monuments, then by declaring that unconstitutional, they will have then declared the creation of the monuments as unconstitutional. Law is a two edge sword.

  • Casey See Camarillo, CA
    Sept. 18, 2017 10:07 a.m.

    @ Greenwoodj

    While I agree with much of what you say, you did mis-state something. Utah is not the state with the most Federally owned land in the Union. I believe that designation goes to Alaska and then Nevada. The top five are: AK = 95.8%, NV=87.8%, UT= 75.2%, ID=70.4%, OR= 60.4%.

    In regards to the Bears Ears. I would protect every cliff dwelling and the land surrounding it by .5 miles plus the entire area actually surrounding the two "Bears Ears" as that is the sacred ground (I believe). For the Grand Staircase, all of the slot canyons should be protected and the towing cliffs.

    But right now, the way these monuments were drawn it appears that the boundaries were extended as far as the eye could see, which in some cases is 50 - 70 miles. From relatives homes in Blanding, I can easily see the Bears Ears over 50 miles as the crow flies. I can even see Shiprock in NM (70 plus miles away), so using the distance one can see, covers a lot of ground, something many in the East and on the Coasts don't comprehend.

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    This seems like an action by and for the People.
    Interesting how some claim that a president can summarily restrict land, but that a president can never un-restrict land. How is that fair--when the federal government is limiting and taking over state or private lands? This is how rights are eroded, and seized by one zealous faction.

  • Ron Swanson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 9:51 a.m.

    This is exactly how politics should work! If Trump were so awful he would have pushed to rescind anything created by those he didn't like. Nope, review the status and make a determination. Way to go, it's good to see govt succeed.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 9:47 a.m.

    How come the reporter fails to point out that what the Secretary of the Interior is proposing would shrink the monument designation by 90 percent? Is that really what we want? And does the President have the unilateral authority to do this on his own? I think not.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Sept. 18, 2017 9:36 a.m.

    A totally appropriate move to reduce the excesses in use of the Antiquities Act by a couple of former presidents. They went far beyond what the law says about using the least amount of land necessary to preserve the 'antiquities'. If you want to preserve more than the law allows, then work through congress to do it.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 9:04 a.m.


    The wolves are those who would rape and pillage every last bit of natural land that we have in this country - and especially in Utah. Utah's legislature is not any better; they're willing to sell off everything to be strip-mined, polluted and destroyed. All in the name of the almighty dollar.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 8:44 a.m.


    Here come the court battles.

  • taatmk West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 8:40 a.m.

    I am all for protecting areas that need protection. I have visited almost every one of these areas for years and years. The effects of land abuse are happening, ironically, AFTER the monument designation as all it has done was to popularize the area. It's scare tactics pure and simple by self serving conservation groups that the land will be ravaged. Ever notice how you write something in support of them, how your email inbox then becomes full of their donation requests?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 8:36 a.m.

    Obama Secretary of Interior spent 4 days here last Summer interacting with people and actually met with all parties and had a public meeting. Something Zinke did not. Additionally, she spent 4 years prodding and supporting Bishops "local" solution. Those are the facts.

  • greenwoodj Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 8:32 a.m.

    The "wilderness society" from where? Not Utah. The court issue is no threat at all unless it is just intended to tie things up until this president is gone. What about what is best for the State and the nation? About Presidential Authority. That is what is at issue here. If one president had total authority to take parts of a state with no questions or challenge, then another has the same authority to change it. Believe it or not, I am not on one side or the other in this issue. I am, however, against mindless ideas without merit. I totally agree that the issue of total presidential power over park lands is not a good idea. Let us fix that one then maybe we can have responsible presidential actions over land but under intelligent scrutiny.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    Very good news indeed. The angst by the lefties is a bonus. lol

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 7:55 a.m.

    This is a most appropriate recommendation to reduce the sizes of the mentioned national monuments.

    The entire Bears Ears area was just as pristine one year ago (before national monument designation) as it is now. It is amazing however, that if it is reduced at all, many comment that the entire area is now an enormous strip mine and has lost all beauty. It has survived under it's previous status with humans nearby engaging in multiple use for at least the last 150 years.

  • greenwoodj Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 7:52 a.m.

    I worry when comments like that brand things so blindly. If the henhouse is our nation, then Clinton was certainly a wolf when he pulled the stunt he did with the staircase. We are supposed to be a nation of people who work out things together. Doing what he did totally in secret keeping any Utah input impossible at an Arizona location then federalizing the whole southern part of the state was certainly the act of a wolf. Nobody is eliminating the parks, just downsizing some so the point of having them do what was a hoped to be accomplished while allowing the needs of those who live there are considered. Utah is more Federal than any other state. It is sad when eastern residents who know nothing about the west dictate life for people they have no knowledge of how they live. At least someone came out and looked at the entire matter before suggesting any action. Clinton and Obama did neither. So who are the real wolves you speak of here?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 7:47 a.m.


    That land does NOT belong to "the locals". It belongs to all Americans.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 7:31 a.m.

    Yes, the east coast wolves will lock out the locals from their land just to build a legacy or garner a few left coast votes.

    Those who want to eliminate all human activity on lands in Utah should lead out by moving out of State. The entire region was once sacred tribal lands to one group or another.

    We all want to protect truly amazing areas. We also need jobs, ranching, and energy and the ability to recreate, including motorized recreation.

    Most of Utah is very well suited to multiple use.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 7:30 a.m.

    Don't worry folks. The lawsuits resulting from this poorly thought out "plan" will be tied up in court longer than Trump will be President. Hopefully, the next President will actually be competent and will drop this destruction.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 6:59 a.m.

    This is what happens when you put wolves in charge of the hen house.