The Bears Ears are a pair of buttes located in San Juan County in the southeastern Utah. The Bears Ears are bordered on the west by Dark Canyon Wilderness and Beef Basin, on the east by Comb Ridge and on the north by Indian Creek and Canyonlands National Park. Rising 2,000 feet above Cedar Mesa to the south, the Bears Ears reach 8,700 feet in elevation and are named for their resemblance to the ears of a bear emerging from the horizon.
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition wants the land designated a national monument. The land is federally owned and jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and National Park Service.
And despite the uniformly acknowledged historical significance of the area, some people regard the conservation efforts by the White House as classic federal overreach. In the current-era conflict between Washington and rural Westerners, the idea of a Bears Ears national monument has produced warnings of a possible armed insurrection.
In a state where the federal government owns 65 percent of the land, many conservatives already resent existing restrictions because they bar development that could generate additional revenue. Out-of-state militias came to San Juan County two years ago, when Commissioner Phil Lyman helped lead an all-terrain-vehicle protest ride through a canyon the Bureau of Land Management had closed to motorized traffic in 2007. Lyman is appealing the 10-day jail sentence he received in connection with the protest, and he argues that his case shows how BLM officials place the priorities of environmentalists over those of local residents.
But some lawmakers have suggested that unilateral action by the president, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, could provoke the same sort of resistance that led to the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year.
“There is a lot of conflict that has escalated into being on the precipice of violence that is unnecessary and unwarranted,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz
(R-Utah), who opposes the designation.
Obama has approached the designation of national monuments as a way to bolster the country’s defenses against climate change and as a way to make the national narrative more inclusive, in addition to his obligation to safeguard the country’s national treasures.
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What a bunch of lies! This is about another federal land grab. Period. Isn’t 60-65% of Utah ENOUGH for you, Obama? If you and your administration take any more land, there won’t be any land for “locals” to control or to collect taxes on. That means higher taxes for locals and limited resources. Resources that the local tribes relied on for centuries. Don’t think Obama really cares about that though does he? If anyone is doing any REAL looting…it’s Obama!
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