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On First Anniversary Of Bears Ears Designation, Voices From The Debate

Howard Berkes, Kelsie Moore, Julia Ritchey

A year ago today, President Barack Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. The story's taken twists and turns all year. A few weeks ago, President Trump lopped off more than a million acres from the monument. Now there's a flurry of legal challenges. KUER shares some of the voices that have defined the ongoing monument fight. 

Jonah Yellowman, spiritual advisor to Utah Dine Bikeyah, in an interview with KUER News

Bears Ears became a law. ...It was signed by the president and we want it - and we want it to be honored. That's all we're asking. And we want everybody to enjoy that. We're not selfish. We never were. 

Kathleen Clarke, Director of Utah Public Lands Policy testifying before the U.S. House Federal Lands Subcommittee, May 2.

Any perceived benefits from the designation of huge landscape-scale monuments needs to be weighed against the impacts that are suffered by those who rely on the land. Landscapes don't disappear, but jobs and artifacts do. 

Democratic State Rep. Patrice Arent at the "Monumental Mistake" protest at the State Capitol on Dec. 2.

This is truly a monumental mistake. Trump is ignoring a history, and as he often does. He's ignoring science. He's ignoring the 2.8 million people who sent comments to [U.S. Interior] Secretary [Ryan] Zinke to tell him to support our two national monuments. He's ignoring the law.

President Donald Trump speaking at the Utah State Capitol on Dec. 4.

Therefore today, on the recommendation of Secretary Zinke, and with the wise counsel of Sen. Hatch, Sen. Lee and the many others, I will sign two presidential proclamations. These actions will modify the national monuments' designations of both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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