SALT LAKE CITY — Angry Utah leaders are vowing to do everything within their power to unravel President Barack Obama’s Wednesday designation of a new national monument in Utah.
They say they will call on the Trump administration to reverse the proclamation, file a lawsuit or if nothing else, shrink the size of the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears Monument with congressional legislation and wipe away any last bit of funding.
Despite the fist shaking from critics, Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the Obama administration does not fear the backlash in Utah and added there’s no belief that an attempt to rescind the proclamation will prove successful.
“No presidents have actually undone a monument by a (previous) president,” she said, adding that there is no provision in the Antiquities that expressly would allow that action.
Goldfuss actually made the official announcement of the monument designation in an embargoed teleconference with reporters 60 minutes before it went public.
The designation was sought by the leaders of five Native American tribes and a coalition of environmental and conservation groups, much to the dismay of San Juan County leaders and Utah’s top elected officials.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said just because rescinding a monument hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There’s no precedent, he stressed.
“As Utahns, we will use every tool at our disposal to do the right thing,” he said. “As Utahns, we will fight to right this wrong.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, called the designation an “arrogant act by lame a duck president” that will not stand.
“I will work tirelessly with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to honor the will of the people and undo this designation.”
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