Gov. Gary Herbert recently delivered a letter to President Obama urging him to refrain from designating a new national monument in the state.
The governor raised the specter of the controversial Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designated under the Clinton administration and warned that "history shows this sort of action will only exacerbate an already tense situation and will further perpetuate the longstanding public lands conflict."
In so doing, Herbert chose to conveniently ignore longstanding efforts by Native Americans, including Utah Navajos, to protect the Bears Ears.
Herbert's assessment of the repercussions of a possible Bears Ears National Monument is both biased and inaccurate. While national monuments do impact local communities, studies and experience show that most monuments spur economic growth, create jobs for locals and are a positive addition to communities. A Bears Ears National Monument would benefit local Native and non-Native American residents of San Juan County financially and practically, to say nothing of the natural and cultural resources it would protect. Additionally, the Bears Ears landscape is deserving of attention for the immense role it plays in the social, cultural and spiritual lives of Native American people in the region.