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Utah Politicians Issue Statement Opposing Executive Order On National Monuments

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson on Thursday announced they are joining the state’s Congressional delegation in opposing one of President Joe Biden’s executive orders.

On Wednesday, Biden signed a handful of new executive orders, including one will direct the U.S. Department of the Interior to reassess the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments.

The Office of the Governor issued a joint statement from Cox; Henderson; Republican senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney; Republican representatives Chris Stewart, John Curtis, Burgess Owens and Blake More; Attorney General Sean Reyes; Senate President Stuart Adams; and Speaker of the House Brad Wilson.

“For over 25 years Utah has been the center of controversial and divisive unilateral national monument decisions. Roughly two-thirds of our backyard belongs to the federal government, which has meant land management actions have often been done to us rather than with us,” according to the statement. A review in name only with predetermined results, which ultimately leads to a unilateral executive order enlarging the monuments’ boundaries, will not solve the root of the problem and will only deepen divisions in this country.”

The governor’s office called for a “collaborative, broadly supported solution to the political football of national monuments in Utah, specifically the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.”

Biden championed unity during his campaign, the statement reads, and Utah officials want the federal government to work with state and local leaders.

“… We stand ready to work across party lines towards a permanent solution,” according to the statement.

President Barack Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument in the final days of his presidency in 2016, and President Bill Clinton created the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument in 1996.

In 2017, President Donald Trump downsized both monuments — Bears Ears by 85% and Grand-Staircase Escalante by nearly half.

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