The San Juan County Commission passed two resolutions in favor of Bears Ears National Monument, the latest sign of a historic shift of power in the county.
In one resolution, previous anti-monument resolutions were rescinded, including one that requested and recommended the reversal of President Barack Obama’s 2016 designation. The other resolution directed the county attorney to withdraw intervention siding with President Donald Trump in lawsuits related to the monument.
The commission voted along party lines for both resolutions, with Republican Commissioner Bruce Adams voting against and Democratic Commissioners Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes voting in favor.
Tuesday’s meeting drew criticism during citizens’ comment, including from Blanding City Council member Cheryl Bowers. Echoing her remarks when the resolutions were proposed, Bowers said Blanding passed its own resolution opposing the expansion of Bears Ears National Monument.
“We further oppose any future land designations without the input and support of local elected officials and residents,” Bowers read from the city’s resolution.
As each resolution moved to a vote, Commissioner Adams said he had problems with the way they were written. In particular, Adams cited wording accusing Trump of violating the law while lawsuits are pending.
“I think we’re in for trouble,” Adams said.
Commissioners Maryboy and Grayeyes did not add comment as they voted.
During the commission’s work meeting, a proposed resolution would support a bill introduced in the U.S. House that would expand the monument beyond Obama’s designation.
The resolution, along with six others, are eligible for a vote at the next commissioner meeting.