Environews: Utah legislators fight over Bear Ears

By Amy Brunvand

– By Amy Brunvand

Supporters wearing “Protect Bears Ears” t-shirts overflowed the conference room at a feisty April 20 meeting of the Utah Legislature Commission for the Stew­ardship of Public Lands.

During the meeting Republican members of the commission insisted that “attorney-client privilege” prevents sharing a transfer of public lands legal report financed with public money (even though the lawsuit supposedly does the people’s business).

Mike Noel (R-Kanab) falsely claimed that Indian tribes supporting Bears Ears are paid lobbyists for rich environmental groups. Various Republicans claimed that only residents of San Juan County should be allowed to weigh in on Bears Ears.

Then the Com­mission (excluding the two Democrats) voted to keep hemorrhaging tax dollars trying to grab state control of federal lands and endorsed a cranky “Resolution Opposing Unilateral Use of the Antiquities Act,” full of over-heated anti-federal rhetoric about state sovereignty.

A special legislative session will convene in May to consider the anti-Bears Ears resolution.

April 20 meeting (worth a listen): le.utah.gov/aspinterim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=SPESPL


This article was originally published on May 5, 2016.