Washington, DC – Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Natural Resources Committee, gave the following remarks during a hearing regarding the reduction of the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. As the member of Congress who represents the district including the Bears Ears National Monument, the Congressman gives his views on the best way to resolve ongoing disagreements on how the land in San Juan County should be managed.
“It’s been my honor to be the lead sponsor in the House on the Emery County Public Lands Bill, which did what everyone said couldn’t be done: bring together unique the stakeholders of Native Americans, environmentalists, ranchers, hunters, recreationalists, etc. to find resolution on a million acres in a county that adjoins Bears Ears. We’ve been able to do something in a pretty significant way.
I’m absolutely convinced there’s a strong desire in Utah among the elected officials and the constituents to protect and preserve these very important and sacred areas. That’s never been in question. What has been in question, is who gets to make those decisions?
There are those who would advocate that those back here in the East coast, in bureaucracy, would know better. Not only than the local elected officials, but the local tribes. I don’t believe that’s true. My efforts will continue to include not only local input, but management decisions from the tribes on how these lands are managed. I hope that moving forward we can deescalate the type of conversations that are so often associated with these national monuments, the divisiveness, the ‘winner-take-all’ philosophy, and really sit down as we did in Emery County with the various interest groups and resolve these issues.”