I shook my head when reading Gov. Cox’s opinion suggesting a “legislative solution” for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. This option has been available to Utah politicians for years but has never gained traction because what the Utah delegation offers is not protection at all, but exploitation in disguise. Their parochial vision immediately puts them at odds with national interests -- precisely the reason the Antiquities Act exists at all.
When it comes to matters of public lands, our delegation’s actions speak louder than their words. At their behest, Donald Trump tried to take the protections away from these very lands. History cannot be re-written. The current bluster from our politicians is disingenuous at best. At worst, they are false promises, immense disservices, and a source of continual embarrassment for our great state.
President Biden should act swiftly to restore both monuments, and provide the resources for real protection on the ground. As in most matters of public lands, the Utah delegation can’t see the desert through the proverbial dust storm and they shouldn’t be trusted on this matter of great international importance.
Beth Allen, Millcreek