Utah county seeks to restore size of national monument

in Government

SALT LAKE CITY — The San Juan County Commission has passed a resolution calling on President-elect Joe Biden to restore the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah.

Currently, the monument is about 200,000 acres and split into Shash Jaa and Indian Creek national monuments.

President Barack Obama had designated 1.35 million acres to the monument in 2016 as requested by five Native American tribes with ties to the region. But President Donald Trump significantly reduced the boundaries a year later, citing local opposition as one of the main reasons for the decision.

The commission voted 2-1 on the resolution that said Trump’s decision in 2017 was illegal and asked Biden to make it a priority in his administration to restore the monument to its original size.

Democratic county commissioners Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Greyeyes, who belong to the Navajo Nation, approved the resolution. Commissioner Bruce Adams said he believed his colleagues were acting with undue haste.

“It seems a little bit premature to me to try to put pressure on (President-elect Joe Biden) to do this before he has been made the president, before he has taken the oath of office,” Adams said. “Those who penned this resolution are in a hurry to get this done.”

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