Utah's GOP delegation to Obama: Say no to monument
Washington • Utah's Republicans in Congress are sending their own letter to President Barack Obama arguing against the idea of designating 1.4 million acres surrounding Canyonlands National Park as a national monument.
Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee along with Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz say the president should jettison the proposal by a group of outdoor-related businesses and look instead to a more grass-roots approach.
"Federal land-use decisions must be cultivated in a collaborative process that balances various stakeholder uses in this process," the four members of Congress wrote in a letter Thursday. "Presidential decrees preclude this process and would be a detriment to our state."
The Outdoor Industry Association and more than 100 related businesses sent a letter to Obama earlier this week asking him to designate the area around the national park as a monument, a move the president could do with a signature.
The groups say the outdoor industry adds $256 billion annually to the economy and supports 2.3 million jobs and that adding to it by protecting treasured landscapes would only improve that.
Utah's GOP members of Congress say in their letter there should be a balanced approach in recognizing iconic areas and tapping major deposits of oil and gas resources in the area.
"Preserving these open spaces for future generations and utilizing the resources in a responsible manner," they said, "may be done in harmony."
Utah's Democratic congressman, Rep. Jim Matheson, did not sign the letter.