SUWA Statement on Senator Mike Lee’s One-Sided Field Hearing in Blanding

Sole Purpose is to Forestall Bears Ears National Monument

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2016
Contact: Scott Groene, 801-712-5034

Salt Lake City, UT — In response to Senator Mike Lee’s “field hearing” in Blanding today to discuss the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) and “the potential impacts of large-scale monument designations,” Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Executive Director Scott Groene released the following statement:

“Today’s field hearing is a total sham — just as the PLI is a total sham. The purpose of the PLI at this point is to forestall the designation of a Bears Ears National Monument.

“Senator Lee did not include a single conservation organization on his list of witnesses. This is in stark contrast to Secretary Jewell’s hearing on July 16th, where both sides were invited to participate, and where attendees supported the creation of a Bears Ears National Monument by a 2-to-1 margin.

“The PLI is not a serious bill, nor is it a ‘grand bargain.’ Not a single conservation group in the United States supports the PLI, and that’s because the PLI is a major step backwards for conservation in Utah. In fact, the PLI is a trojan horse for the state of Utah’s radical land-grab agenda. It would hand over thousands of miles of roads and control over energy development to the state of Utah, circumventing federal environmental laws and accelerating the development of oil, gas, tars sands, coal and uranium.

“In the Bears Ears region, the PLI fails even more spectacularly. It disregards  the input and cultural mapping of tribes and excludes more than half a million acres of tribally-identified sacred and ancestral land from protection. And it openly dismisses the tribal request for co-management and reduces tribal input to a condescending and powerless advisory role.”