Environews, Environews, Minis

Environews: Most Utahns want Bears Ears

By Amy Brunvand

Despite loud shouting of opposition voices, a poll on behalf of the Pew Charitable Trusts found that a small majority of Utahns actually favor creating a Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah; 53% of those polled supported the idea of a monument; 41% opposed.

Interestingly, 74% agreed that the most convincing argument in favor of Bears Ears is knowing that Utah political leaders have opposed every existing national park and national monument in Utah.

The current version of the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill would create a smaller, less conservation-oriented “Bears Ears National Conservation Area” instead of the national monument proposed by the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition.

A quote on the PLI website misleadingly implies support from the Pew Charitable Trust. However, a July 14 letter from Pew Public Lands Director Mike Matz says that if serious flaws in the PLI can’t be resolved quickly, “Pew believes that President Obama should use his authority, granted by Congress under the Antiquities Act, to protect the Bears Ears area as a national monument.”   President Barak Obama could possibly use the power of the Antiquities Act to create national monuments before he leaves office on January 20, 2017.

Bears Ears Poll: PewTrusts.org

This article was originally published on September 7, 2016.