The Department of Interior’s public comment period regarding Bears Ears National Monument ends this Friday, May 26. Please submit comments by Thursday at MIDNIGHT in case of technical difficulties or site crashes.
CALL TO ACTION
- Submit YOUR Public Comment on Bears Ears via the Utah Diné Bikéyah website by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.
- Submit a comment on national monuments and the Antiquities Act via Monuments for All by July 10th.
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Talking Points – Bears Ears National Monument
- Bears Ears National Monument is the first monument in America’s history dedicated to honoring the cultural heritage and history of Native American Tribes and it protects an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites referred to as the “American Cradle of Civilization”.
- The creation of Bears Ears National Monument was a big step toward healing relations between Tribes and Anglos. Monument opposition is a betrayal of the effort to honor tribes and bring healing. Rescission or reduction would be a great insult to Tribes, not only in the American Southwest, but across the country.
- San Juan County is at the center of the Bears Ears debate, expressing the loudest hostility toward the monument. San Juan County has a population of 15,000. 52% is Navajo. 90% of Navajo support the monument.
- The Navajo Nation tribal council voted unanimously to support the monument, dozens of Native nations in the National Congress of American Indians support the monument, as do 6 out of 7 Navajo chapter houses in Utah.
- The Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition here in Utah, which proposed the monument designation, is an unprecedented coming together of tribes around a common vision.
- Attacks on the monument designation ignore local input by ignoring that tribal members are local. It was these locals who proposed and lead up years of lobbying for the Bears Ears National Monument designation, and documents requested by the House Oversight Committee prove that local Tribes, other local Utahns, Utah leaders and the general public had ample opportunity to weigh in and participate in conversations around the creation of the Monument.
- Zinke has stated a strong commitment to respecting and partnering with tribes, yet he (despite finding time for meetings with dozens of oil and gas companies), he refused to respond to a request to meet with the Tribes for months, and gave only one hour of his time in Utah to meet with the Tribes, spending most of the trip with monument opponents.
- A white paper by Public Lands Solutions determined that Bears Ears National Monument would bring unprecedented economic opportunity to San Juan County, the poorest county in the state.
- Each of Utah’s congressional delegates and our governor has stated that our public lands need protecting.
- Rescission or reduction would mean the the land would remain in federal hands, but with significantly less protection.
- Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative also proposed protection for Bears Ears within nearly identical borders
Monuments make Utah’s economy great
Public lands are a critical piece of Utah’s present and future economy.
- Tourism across Utah, including tourism in our national monuments, brings in nearly $8 billion annually, with nearly $7 billion coming from domestic and international visitors — that means tourism is the largest export business in Utah
- Every year, the outdoor recreation industry brings Utah $12 billion in consumer spending, $3.6 billion in wages and salaries, $856 million in state and local tax revenue and provides 122,000 jobs
- The push by some elected officials in Utah to rescind Bears Ears National Monument designation and dramatically decrease Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument directly led $75 million in annual losses for Utahns due to the exit of Outdoor Retailer and Bicycle Retailer, with more potential losses on the horizon
- Studies show that regions surrounding national monuments have seen continued growth or improvement in employment, personal income and increased per-capita income
- Rural counties in the West with more than 30 percent protected public lands saw jobs increase by 345% over areas without protected lands
- The State of Utah does not have the funding to manage public lands on its own and would either go bankrupt or be forced to sell and lease public lands to private entities if these lands are transferred to the state
- Nearly half of the nation’s national parks and 4 out of 5 of Utah’s national parks were originally protected as national monuments
- Recent studies show registered voters in each of seven Mountain West states, including all the Four Corners states, want to keep existing national monument designations by a margin of 80% to 13%
- 60% of Utahns want to keep existing national monuments in place
(Adapted from Utah Diné Bikéyah)