This Week in Bears Ears News: Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2018
Outside has done consistently solid reporting on all things Bears Ears and public lands. Don't let the fatalistic URL fool you: this piece takes a clear-eyed look at the opening of lands formerly within Bears Ears National Monument to resource extraction, and explains why we're unlikely to see an "1800s-style land rush" bonanza anytime soon.
Last week's hearing on a bill introduced by Utah Rep. John Curtis (R), which seeks to codify Trump's Executive Order shrinking the original Bears Ears National Monument while giving Utahns more control over land management. The bill even purports to "create the first Tribally managed national monument" by appointing Natives from San Juan County to a land-management body tasked with making decisions about land use within the borders of the new monument.
But some tribal members are not happy with the bill and what they see as disingenuous messaging about what the legislation would actually do.
A piece that provides vital background and context for the latest skirmish in the battle over Bears Ears. Regarding the headline: while there are many things the tribes find insulting about Trump's proposed mini-monument, the most obvious one is that the administration chose as its name the Navajo translation of "Bears Ears." Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye argued last week that this choice by the Trump administration gives the impression that the tribe endorsed the monument when in fact its leadership strongly opposes it.
Last week's news roundup was dominated by dispatches from the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver. The event's organizers chose Colorado's capital as its new home following last year's decision to leave Utah due to the state's anti-monument stance.
Many in Utah's business and outdoor recreation communities rued the decision, noting that the Outdoor Retailer’s winter and summer shows boosted the state's economy to the tune of $45 million annually. But Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the state's congressional delegation, and politicians in many of the state's rural counties said "good riddance" to the climbers, bikers, hikers, and other tourists who in recent years had been flocking to Utah's natural wonders in ever-growing numbers. To them, these "outsiders" were crowding Utahns' treasured landscapes and, worse, bringing "elitist" and "extreme environmentalist" views with them.
We'll admit, we did not expect to feature a piece from a music-industry publication in our news roundup, but the release of a Bears Ears protest song by an indie-rock darling is noteworthy. Krauss' case for the necessity of protecting public lands is articulate and well argued. We'll let you judge the song for yourself.
The Utah Congressman/Antiquities Act Enemy No. 1 offers his two cents on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's proposal to reorganize the agency and potentially move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Washington, D.C. to the West.
The two New Mexico Senators joined 15 of their colleagues in crafting the Democrats' legislative response to Trump's shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Just as Rep. Curtis' bill would codify the boundaries of Trump's new Utah monuments, the America's Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Qualities Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States Act (see what they did there?) would codify the boundaries of all monuments established since 1996. If you'll recall, Trump's first executive order on national monuments, issued in May 2017, directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a review of all national monuments since 1996 - which, not coincidentally, is the year Grand Staircase-Escalante was established.