New Secretary of Interior to focus on Bears Ears
Mar 07, 2017 | 3709 views | 0 0 comments | 216 216 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ryan Zinke was approved as the new Secretary of the Interior by the US Senate on March 1. With the appointment, one of his first orders of business is Bears Ears National Monument, the massive 1.35 million national monument created in the final days of the Barack Obama Administration.

It is anticipated that Zinke will visit the area in coming weeks. No plans have been announced, but the retired Navy Seal and prior member of the US House of Representatives from Montana has received invitations from a variety of sources.

The Stewards of San Juan, which has been involved in opposition efforts to the monument, extended an invitation to Zinke. They write, “We hope that when you visit our state you will prioritize your time to meet with the people of San Juan County, the elected officials that we have chosen to represent us, and the Navajo and Ute tribes whose way of life will be devastated by this monument.”

At the same time, Willie Grayeyes, Chairman of Utah Diné Bikéyah, which supports the monument, said, “As local Native people and San Juan County residents, we fully expect Secretary Zinke to honor the government-to-government relationship by meeting with our elected leaders and listening to Native peoples.”

It is anticipated that emotions will run high as all sides on the issue ramp up efforts to influence the new Secretary of the Interior.

The Utah State legislature passed a resolution asking President Trump to rescind the monument. And while President Trump has yet to weigh in on the issue, the designation has been opposed by every other local, state and federal elected official who has direct responsibility over the land.

At the same time, a wide range of other groups support the monument, including five Native American tribes and environmental groups.

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