FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
CONTACT: Madison Hayes | Alliance for a Better Utah | firstname.lastname@example.org
Salt Lake City, UT – In the company of politicians and anti-public lands advocates, President Trump signed an executive order instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monument designations former presidents have made within the past twenty-one years. Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, two monuments in Utah, are among those included in this review.
“Today’s action puts the coal industry and corporate interests ahead of Utahns and future generations,” said Madison Hayes, content manager for Alliance for a Better Utah. “Support for these national monuments has been significant throughout Utah, including the counties who have seen a rise in tourism since designation or wish to see the land preserved for its cultural values. National monuments are designated so they may be preserved for all the people of the United States. These are national treasures – once they are lost and sold off for development and extraction, there is no way to return these beautiful lands to their original state.”
A poll conducted by the Pew Charitable Trust months before Bears Ears was designated a monument showed a majority of Utahns supported such a designation. The same poll showed a majority of Utahns believed the Grand Staircase monument was similarly beneficial for Utah and that it has had a positive impact on Utah’s tourism, wildlife, and environment.
“Rather than listening to the deep pockets of the coal industry and other corporations that would love to get their hands on these lands, our leaders need to start listening to the people they represent,” continued Hayes. “Utahns overwhelmingly choose to live in this state because of the natural beauty so close to their doorsteps. President Obama recognized this when he designated the Bears Ears monument, and so did President Clinton with Grand Staircase-Escalante. Regardless of this sentiment, politicians from Governor Herbert, and Speaker Hughes, on up to President Trump and Senator Hatch cannot seem to see beyond the lobbyists standing in front of them. It would seem extraction voices take precedence over cultural values and conservation.”
During Congress’ February recess, Orrin Hatch explicitly stated his desire to see modifications to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument were based on his intent to access massive coal reserves within the Kapirowitz Plateau that were “locked up” upon designation.
Concluded Hayes: “We encourage Secretary Zinke to visit Utah so he can experience the beauty of these monuments for himself, as well as listen to the tens of thousands of Utahns who want these lands to be preserved for generations to come. Local leaders who claim to speak for their constituents neglect a great many voices who do not want to see the land go to coal and corporate interests – we urge Zinke to consider these voices.”
About the Alliance for a Better Utah:
Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.