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Salt Lake Tribune calls for President Obama to designate Bears Ears National Monument

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The Salt Lake Tribune is calling for President Obama to designate a 1.9-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah. In an editorial Sunday, the newspaper notes a proposed alternative – draft legislation produced by a years-long Public Lands Initiative by two Utah congressmen – has drawn intense criticism from many Native American leaders and environmentalists and has not even been introduced yet. The Public Lands Initiative involved hundreds of meetings with different constituencies in eastern Utah. Its proposal calls for a 1.1-million-acre Bears Ears National Conservation Area instead of a monument. However, the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition, which includes the Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni tribes, pulled out of the initiative process late in 2015, saying their input had largely been ignored. The Tribune says if the initiative’s proposal were put before Congress, “there is little indication that, with so much opposition from the tribes and environmental groups from across the nation, it would have a chance to become law.” However, the editor of the San Juan Record in San Juan County has spoken out against the monument. In a column, Bill Boyle argues that the initiative involved local input while the monument proposal was “created in a laboratory far from San Juan County”.

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