Hillyard concerned as Trump prepares executive order on monuments

As President Trump readies an executive order to review the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments, a new poll shows Utahns have mixed feelings about the future of these monuments and whether their status should be reduced or rescinded.

Utah Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard said as far as he’s concerned, there are two different issues to consider. One is the scope of the executive order and the other is the process undertaken to create it. Like several members of Utah’s federal delegation, Hillyard is concerned about the unilateral use of presidential power in designating national monuments.

“I’m offended, really, on the process,” he said. “I think it needs to be worked through, and that’s the problem when you have a democratically elected government like we have. It’s not always easy to come to solutions because you have to consider all the various aspects. You just can’t arbitrarily rule and say, ‘this will be it,’ so I think they need to continue to work on that. There’s certainly areas of that Bears Ears Monument that we all agree should be protected and should be held sacred, and I think the question is, ‘what’s the scope of that?’”

Hillyard said over last weekend, he had a chance to tour Southern Utah. He was on the edge of Escalante when he noticed that the side of the monument now owned by the federal government is not as well maintained as the other side, which is maintained by Kane County. Hillyard said the county has done some great things in the area, including restoring vegetation.

President Trump is expected to sign the executive order on April 26. It will require the Interior Department to examine all national monument designations, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, since 1996.

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