Public Lands, National Monuments, Antiquities Act, and States' Rights

Certainly if “protecting the area” means prohibiting all economic activity in it, then yes. There’s no “consensus” in San Juan County or Utah that all grazing / mining / drilling / logging / ATVing should cease on these 1.35 million acres.

I’d put that in the same category, unless you think people like to ski near industrial activity.

How many of them are interested in skiing on mine tailings?

And can you share any information on which particular individual “people” of Utah urged the representatives to undo Bears Ears National Monument status? Because my understanding is that it is oil and gas companies who are pushing for new leases to drill: Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalitition Position

I think people generally prefer to ski in areas with roads and ski lifts to aid access (noting that there are is a vibrant “backcountry” community, but it’s a minority). Utah doesn’t want to turn the whole area into an industrial wasteland that you seem to imagine. They managed to avoid doing that in all the time prior to four months ago when Obama declared it a national monument.

ummm … well, let’s see, there’s myself. There’s the San Juan County Commission. There’s the Blanding City Council. There are these people. Not sure what you’re looking for here. Do you want a list of names?

I wouldn’t suggest that all industrial activity should be curtailed, and don’t have any particular opinion on Bears Ears. But Utah’s natural wonders would not be the same today unless certain areas were protected, and I’m certain that each time that happened, some locals complained that their livelihood was being destroyed. I don’t think we can use the amount of opposition noise as an argument against protection.

There’s certainly a line to be drawn between disallowing all industrial activity vs. oil fields and tailing piles as far as the eye can see. I don’t know which side of the line Bears Ears should fall on, but given that industrialization is largely a one-way move, I know which side I favor in the absence of a strong argument to the contrary.

They could use the industrial waste to color code the ski runs. Never a question of which one you’re on.

“You must be a phenomenal skier! You’re positively glowing!”

I think you should read your own links, especially the one from the Deseret News. The article cites as many opponents as proponents. What the Heartland Organization has to say on the topic doesn’t matter much to me… that’s Koch-funded propaganda right there. Similarly, the piece by the San Juan Record is as much about those who support the monument status as are against. From your own San Juan Record article:

““I don’t think there are 200 cars in Blanding that have the no monument sticker,” said Mayor Balch. He pressed for a change in the language to ensure the city council is not speaking for every resident, but only for the city council.”

By the way, what does the Trib have to say about it all? I grew up in Utah. You know as well as I do that each paper brings their own bias to the party.

Like I mentioned, I like wilderness too, but I don’t live there. The Feds probably need to get out of the real estate business, frankly. Anyway there’s huge areas already set aside, and they have been for decades. I don’t own an ATV, it’s not my thing, but for a lot of folks, that’s their recreation. The slickrock area has a huge bicycling component, it’s unmatched, and the 4WD trails are legendary. The West is big enough to handle that. Trust Me. I don’t own any horses, but a lot of people do, and horsepack trips are part of their recreation and livelihood. Mining and logging and the like provides jobs and tax revenue for cities and state governments. Utah isn’t a museum.

Missed the edit window.

Yeah, they seem to have a different take on it than you and your Fox “News” and Heartland Organization. No surprise.

Tribal leaders and environmentalists agreed the effort could free up vast swaths of public lands — but for coal mining and oil and gas drilling.

One of the incidents as I recall some years ago, really burned a lot of Utahns craw, was when Clinton 1.0 signed off on monument status for a huge area in Utah, without consulting or informing the state of Utah. The signing ceremony was held in Arizona. It basically locked out any coal extraction in that area, naturally, of some of the highest quality coal around. He then conveniently accepted a rather large monetary donation from the Lippo group, or some sort of Indonesian coal mining interest. It’s the appearance of things like this that really pisses the locals off.

Being a National Monument doesn’t prevent roads from being built. I don’t know about lifts–but I know that other designations (such as National Forests) do support downhill ski areas. The designation doesn’t prevent all economic activity as you seem to imagine.

If harmful activity was avoided for all this time, what does the designation matter? Or is it that someone has figured out there’s something to be extracted from the land?

You’re wrong.

I don’t think you can imagine the depths of frustration and anger felt by the people here in Utah. We waited 12 fucking years for approval to put in a measly 6-mile ATV loop and then Obama’s Bears Ears proposal gets it squashed. That’s the sort of bullshit bureaucracy we have to put up with when asshats on the coasts want to control the land in our state.

Uh, what? The part you quoted says that new roads can be built (if they serve particular purposes). I didn’t say that roads can be built for any reason whatsoever; that’s never been true anywhere.

Besides, I was speaking of National Monuments in general, not of this particular one. The quoted piece was part of this particular order and wouldn’t be true of all National Monuments ever. Maybe this order was an overstep; I dunno. But between an ATV loop than vs. some idiot tearing up irreplaceable geology and artifacts, I know which side I’d rather err on.

Yeah, well, this “asshat from the coast” was living in California in the aftermath of the oil spill on the beaches in 1969 Santa Barbara from offshore drilling and still remembers how decades later, you didn’t walk barefoot on the beach anywhere in the county for the nasty tar you’d get all over your feet. Remember, this new Trump EO seeks to undo protections for offshore oil drilling, too. Coal mining and oil drilling have massive impacts on habitats and tourism industries when they go awry. Your precious natural wilderness areas are not renewable, and I’m not personally sorry to learn your 6-mile ATV track is being squashed for the sake of them.

Apart from you yourself, party of one, I’m still waiting to see your evidence of the huge number of individual citizens who are clamoring for a change to undo the monuments status of this area.

The national monument designation is preventing this particular road from being built. That’s a very precise example to show that “Being a National Monument doesn’t prevent roads from being built” is a false statement, at least some of the time.

I didn’t claim, and neither did you, that all National Monument designations prevent any roads from ever being built. One road prevented from being built is proof enough that your assertion is false.

shrug “energy voters” won the last election. Oil rigs for everyone, and I’m not personally sorry if you can’t walk barefoot down your beach for the sake of them.


Ah. The real point to the thread comes out.

You are under the mis-apprehension that the land in question should be managed so that you, as a resident of Utah, can do what Utahans want to do with it. This, of course, conveniently forgets that the land doesn’t belong to Utah, it belongs to the United States of America. And it should be managed with that in mind. Thus, the viewpoint of someone in California is just as important as the viewpoint of someone in Utah, or Kansas, or Florida, or …

I grew up in the desert of California, surrounded by government military installations and BLM land. I know exactly how designations of federal land can affect people living in the area. And I do sympathize with those who feel that their voices are not being heard. But I ask you this question:

Suppose that, prior to a determination on a place like Bear Ears, the federal government spent two years listening to the people of Utah. Comment periods, hearings, site visits, etc. No pushback during that phase at all. Then, after doing all the listening, the Bear Ears National Monument proposal is announced. Again, the people of Utah get to discuss this, offer comment, complain, etc. After 90 days, the government carves out some insignificant border areas in “response to the complaints and comments”, and creates the Bear Ears National Monument pretty much as proposed.

Would the fact that you had been “listened to” be enough? I highly doubt it. You would be upset because you didn’t get your way. And I’m not saying that wouldn’t be a valid reason to be upset. But it belies the meme that people of the West are just mad because they don’t get a say in things.

I grew up within spitting distance of one of the biggest National Monuments ever (at the time): Death Valley. It’s a national park now, but for 60 + years it was a National Monument, designated by President Herbert Hoover. Had Hoover not designated it, the land therein would have stood unprotected from exploitation. As it was, even as a National Monument, until 1976, it was mined, but at least there were reasonably strict limits on the mining. I also grew up spending summers visiting Devils Postpile National Monument, which was specifically created in 1911 by President Taft to keep the area from being developed for its mineral wealth, indeed, in a way that would have destroyed the postpile. I am a strong believer in the concept of preserving lands that have significant natural beauty from development for their resources. After all, you cannot undo the mining, but you can eventually undo the monument if it turns out critical to our nation that we do so.

There is substantial federally owned land in Utah. That’s the nature of the beast. I do believe that it should not all be turned into parks and wilderness. But I’m not very supportive, as an American who owns that land, of the idea of stripping all of it of its resources at the expense of its natural beauty.