The Obama administration on Tuesday declared two new monument designations – 1.35 million acres at Bears Ears in Utah and 350,000 acres at Gold Butte in Nevada. Both designations were made unilaterally and despite overwhelming local opposition. Public Lands Council President and Utah rancher Dave Eliason criticized the outgoing administration for both their disregard for local input and the manner in which these latest designations were executed.
“Designating a monument in this manner – under the cloak of darkness and without even the decency of notifying the local communities, the states, or the congressional delegations of Utah or Nevada – speaks volumes about the disregard this administration has for local input,” said Eliason. “If the administration was proud of this action, they would have touted it proudly yesterday when the designation was made. Instead, the administration hid out while no one impacted by this monument was given the courtesy of a simple phone call until a full day after the papers were signed.”
The designations of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada make it the 29th time President Obama has used his executive power under the Antiquities Act, more than any other president before him.