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Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

In our opinion: Monument supporters

Deseret News editorial

Published: Fri, Aug. 15 12:00 a.m. MDT

 Gov. Herbert has asked Orrin Hatch’s 14 colleagues to come see Utah for themselves, which is a very good idea. But so far, none of the invited senators have RSVP’d to the governor’s gracious invitation. That’s entirely unacceptable.

Gov. Herbert has asked Orrin Hatch’s 14 colleagues to come see Utah for themselves, which is a very good idea. But so far, none of the invited senators have RSVP’d to the governor’s gracious invitation. That’s entirely unacceptable.

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

“Keep (your) mitts off Utah.”

That was Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s advice to his 14 colleagues who are pushing for a new national monument here in the Beehive State. He accused the senators, none of whom are Republicans, of “just want(ing) to play politics” with Utah’s lands. He recalled what happened back in 1996 when then-President Bill Clinton designated 1.7 million acres as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

“It was very offensive then, and we hope it doesn't happen again,” Hatch told the Deseret News.

He’s right. It was very offensive then, and it would be very offensive now. What’s encouraging, however, is that other Utah leaders are taking positive steps to ensure that history won’t repeat itself.

That’s not to say that the monument is off the table, which is the outcome we would prefer. We have repeatedly called for the Obama administration to reject the calls for new national monuments, and our position on the subject hasn’t changed, nor is it likely to change. But we also recognize the reality that the Obama administration doesn’t take orders from the Deseret News.

We applaud Rep. Rob Bishop’s efforts to limit presidential power on this subject, but his bill still has a ways to go. In the current political environment, if the president is determined to make this happen, it will be difficult to stop it. But what Utah officials are doing is ensuring that locals won’t be blindsided the way they were 18 years ago.

Back then, Clinton didn’t even dare step foot in Utah to make the designation. Even then Rep. Bill Orton, the only Democrat in Utah’s congressional delegation at the time, received virtually no advance warning from his own party’s president; the decision was inflicted on our state by those who had absolutely no stake in it.

That’s what’s different this time around. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ visit to Utah, hosted by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, appears to have been productive. Gov. Gary Herbert has asked Hatch’s 14 colleagues to come see Utah for themselves, which is a very good idea. But so far, none of the invited senators have RSVP’d to the governor’s gracious invitation.

That’s entirely unacceptable.

No decision of this magnitude can be made without careful consideration of the consequences. That kind of consideration requires active engagement. At the very least, it merits a few days in the magnificent vistas they’re so eager to preserve but, so far, are unwilling to actually see with their own eyes.

We’re grateful that our elected officials are working to prevent that kind of mistake from happening again. We would prefer that these senators and the president take Hatch’s advice and keep their mitts off Utah. But regardless of the outcome, we insist that they come to Utah and at least get their mitts dirty out here.

Recommended
1. Wonder
Provo, UT,
Aug. 15, 2014

Why don't we want a new national monument? Is this just another anti-government kind of thing or is there some legitimate reason for being in a tizzy about this? I'm sincere in my question, but admittedly skeptical whenever Republicans get in a dither about things anymore.

2. Lew Elton Jeppson
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 15, 2014

Yes, but does not the monument proposal have merit? Does it not have merit for the entire population of the Unite States? You know this is not Deseret. We are part of the United States and the needs and rights of our entire population must be considered. Your position is provincial to say the least.

3. embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 15, 2014

Please Feds: Save Utah from Utah's "leadership"....We've all seen what can happen and Utah would look like a moonscape in decades if left to the greed and corrupt cronyism that is prevalent in Utah politics.

4. GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA,
Aug. 15, 2014

“Keep (your) mitts off Utah.”

No Utah. Keep YOUR Mitts off our Federal Lands.

“’It was very offensive then, and we hope it doesn't happen again,’ Hatch told the Deseret News.”

So Utah, your senior Senator is offended by the fact that decent public servants seek to protect our Federal lands from indiscriminate exploitation and depredation.

Well then, Senator Hatch might as well get used to being offended.

The decent and honorable people of this nation will NOT let their land be despoiled at the will of the Mighty Orrin, just because HE commands it.

Forget about it Senator Hatch. You’re JUST a Senator. You are NOT the right hand of God. The Constitution is the preeminent law of the land.

We the people don’t think much the Commandments issued by the Great Orrin. Get used to it.

We the people of the United States own that Federal Land, and if you ask us VERY nicely, we might hear you out.

But DON’T even try to order us around.

What Utah needs to realize is that Federal Land belong to us, the people of the United States, not Utah.

5. liberal larry
salt lake City, utah,
Aug. 15, 2014

I'm glad to see Orin sticking up for the people who put him in office!

Of course that would be the petroleum and mining corporations, the ones that Utah would sell the formerly public lands to if they can wrestle them away from the feds.

Just wait until Royal Dutch Shell, and the British/Australian Rio Tinto, get their Mitts on Utah land. The "No Trespassing" signs will be sprouting up like sage bush!