Monument Designation Can be Reversed
– Senator Mike Lee –
On January 4th, 2017, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) spoke on the Senate floor against the Bears Ears National Monument designation. He brought the possibility of reversing the designation to the attention of the Senate. Lee continues to fight against the monument, which was designated against the will and advice of many who live by and protect this beautiful land. He said:
The people of San Juan County understand [that if they lose access to their land it won’t be long before their culture begins to fade away]. They’ve seen their worst nightmares become reality in other Utah counties as a result of a presidential national-monument designation. That’s why on December 29th, the day after President Obama announced the Bears Ears monument, a crowd of Utahns assembled to hold a protest on the steps of the San Juan County courthouse.
Braving the frigid weather of that day, they gathered together to demonstrate that they—the individuals and the families who will be most directly affected by a Bears Ears national monument—believe that the president has no business seizing vast stretches of land to be micromanaged, and mismanaged, by distant federal land agencies.
But the protesters weren’t just angry. They were resolute, confident about the future, and determined to keep fighting for their right to participate in the management of the land in their community, the land that most directly affects them.
Of course, environmentalists and national-monument advocates want the people of San Juan County to believe that this fight is simply over, and that they’ve lost . . . . In their view, President Obama’s proclamation of the Bears Ears National Monument is permanent. It’s irreversible, as if it were carved into stone. As one White House official recently told The Washington Post, “We do not see that the Trump administration has authority to undo this.”
But Madam President, they say this only because they’re not looking hard enough.
The truth is, what can be done through unilateral executive action can also be undone the same way. Such is the impermanence of executive power in our constitutional republic, where major policy changes require broad consensus, forged through legislative compromise, to endure the test of time.
Senator Lee, himself a former attorney and a Constitutional scholar, has been a powerful advocate for those that are against this Monument. He has fought for us, he has worked with us, he has spent time with us, and most importantly he listens to us. Lee closed his remarks to the floor by saying:
This isn’t just my opinion. It’s the opinion of most of my fellow Utahns, including those patriots who assembled on the county courthouse steps in the rural town of Monticello on December 29th. These are the people who were ignored by the Obama administration. These are the people who were cut out of the
These are the people who were ignored by the Obama administration. These are the people who were cut out of the decision-making process that produced this particular National Monument designation. These are the voices that were stifled by the wealthy, out of state, well-connected environmental groups that spent millions of dollars to lock up our land for their exclusive use.
So, it’s fitting to let one of them, one of the residents of San Juan County, have the last word today. I think Suzy Johnson put it best when she said,
“Mr. Obama you have failed the grass roots natives. A true leader listens and finds common ground. The fight for our land is not over. Your name will blow away in the wind.”