Every elected official with responsibility over San Juan County has voiced opposition to the designation, including San Juan County commissioners, the elected state legislators representing San Juan County, every statewide elected official, and every member of the Utah congressional delegation.
Of all the elected officials with direct responsibility over the land involved, President Obama is the only one who did not oppose the designation.
In contrast to the opposition of elected officials, tribal groups and environmental advocacy groups applaud the creation of the new monument.
“I am deeply delighted that the Bears Ears National Monument is now one of the nation’s greatest treasures for all people and future generations to enjoy. I would also like to express my appreciation to President Obama for hearing our voice and listening to the grassroots people, the unity of tribal governments, and all other supporters who stood by us on this powerful path to healing.” – Utah Dine Bikeyah Board Chairman Willie Grayeyes
“The land will no longer be usable. At the moment, we can drive there tomorrow. Ten years from now, we will have more restrictions. Twenty years from now, it will be unrecognizable.” – Wendy Black, Stewards of San Juan
“There’s no place more deserving or needing of protection than the Bears Ears. This landscape surely would have been protected many years ago if it were located anywhere but Utah.” – Friends of Cedar Mesa Executive Director Josh Ewing.
“By unilaterally locking up 1.35 million acres – an area roughly the size of the entire State of Delaware – the president has misused his authority under the Antiquities Act and violated assurances made by his Interior Secretary to take into account local concerns before making a monument designation.” – Utah Governor Gary Herbert
“The protection of the Bears Ears cultural landscape is powerful medicine for healing – of the land, of plants and animals, and for all people.” – Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
“The Business Owners of Bluff applauds the protection of public lands in southeastern Utah as the new Bears Ears National Monument. We are excited and proud to become the official ‘Gateway to Bears Ears.’” – Jen Davilla, Chairwoman for Business Owners of Bluff
“The fact that the president is designating the Bears Ears National Monument at 6 p.m. Eastern on the Wednesday of Christmas vacation – and from 3,000 miles away in Hawaii no less – shows complete disrespect for the people of San Juan County.” – Sutherland President Boyd Matheson
“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand. I will work tirelessly with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to honor the will of the people of Utah and undo this designation.” – Utah Senator Mike Lee
“Today’s victory marks the first time in history that Native American Tribes have called for and succeeded in protecting their sacred ancestral homelands through National Monument designation by a President of the United States of America. In this way, Bears Ears National Monument represents the first truly Native American National Monument in U.S. history. – Utah Dine Bikeyah
“With this astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power, President Obama has shown that far-left special interest groups matter more to him than the people who have lived on and cared for Utah’s lands for generations. For Utahns in general, and for those in San Juan County in particular, this is an affront of epic proportions and an attack on an entire way of life.” – Senator Orrin Hatch
“Today’s action builds on an extraordinary effort from tribes, local communities, and members of Congress to ensure that these treasures are protected for generations to come.” – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
“The president’s midnight monument cherry picked provisions of the Public Lands Initiative and disregarded the economic development and multi-use provisions necessary for a balanced compromise. In reality, a win-win solution never really had a chance as the very threat of the Antiquities Act prevented a serious negotiation with the stakeholders of PLI – many of whom never wanted a compromise to begin with.” – Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz
“We are particularly pleased that the designation affirms tribal sovereignty and provides a collaborative role for Tribes to work with the federal government in maintaining the land.” – Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.
“This designation does not appear to be designed to protect or to unify but rather to pander to out of state interests.” – Utah State Auditor John Dougall
“Local collaboration is key to the successful management of these incredible landscapes, and the BLM is committed to continuing and expanding our work with community partners.” – BLM director Neil Kornze.
“Today, we stand with the people of San Juan County and condemn President Obama’s ‘midnight monument’ designation in southern Utah. President Obama ignored the voices of the people of San Juan County and every elected official chosen to represent the Bears Ears area.” – Utah State Senate Majority Leadership