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Politics & Government

Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis Advocates for New National Monument at White House

U.S. Department of Interior
Proposed Bears Ears National Monument

Democratic State Senator Jim Dabakis is in Washington D.C. this week and will be meeting with White House officials on Friday to give his unique perspective on public lands.

Senator Jim Dabakis says he has one goal for his trip to the White House.

“As an elected representative of the people of the state of Utah and on behalf of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Utahns, I’m asking you to protect this land,” he says.

The land he is referring to is more than 1 million acres in southeastern Utah known as Bears Ears.

“This is one of the great cultural heritage spots in America," he says. "You cannot touch that land, you can’t plant a garden without coming up shards of one of the great civilizations that’s ever been here.”

Dabakis says part of the reason it’s so important for him to make this trip is because he feels Utah’s congressional delegation is not doing a very good job representing how a lot of Utahns feel, particularly the Native American tribes. He also says he’s highly skeptical of Congressman Rob Bishop’s yet to be released public lands initiative.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited Salt Lake in August and said the administration is interested in protecting Bears Ears, but is still waiting for Bishop’s plan.

“We look forward to looking at something as soon as it’s ready," she said. "And even if it’s not fully baked we look forward to having private conversations about what he has in mind.”

Jewell said they’d like to receive input from as many interested parties as possible before President Obama makes any decisions. And while she didn’t indicate that Obama is planning on creating any new monuments, she didn’t rule that out as a possibility either. 

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