Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, presented his bill Thursday to reconfigure what used to be the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
Some state and local leaders want the 21-year-old national monument to be replaced. Republican Congressman Chris Stewart’s legislation features such a proposal: the Escalante Canyons National Park.
“The bill protects these beautiful places in perpetuity for some for the best exploration and recreation on Earth," said Vicki Varela, who leads the Utah tourism office.
Susan Hand, a Kanab small businesswoman, opposes the changes.
“The destruction of our monument threatens our economic future," she told the House federal lands subcommittee. "The stroke of a pen reduced our monument by half, severed it into fragments and diluted protections.”
Stewart's bill hasn't been up for a vote yet, and the controversial measure would have to pass both chambers of Congress before it can become law.