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Mon Apr 12, 2021, 02:08 AM

Biden is poised to expand Bears Ears & Grand Staircase monuments. The real question is by how much?

For the third time in less than five years, a U.S. Interior secretary has traveled to Utah’s San Juan County to investigate where to set the ever-fluid boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument.

The debate over where to draw those lines continues to divide residents and ripple across the state’s political landscape — even as the fragile region has become inundated with curious and, at times, careless visitors.

In all instances, including Deb Haaland’s trip last week, the outcomes of these inquiries, all ordered by presidents, seemed more or less preordained. Several tribes are pressing Haaland to urge President Joe Biden not only to restore the original Bears Ears boundaries — before they were slashed at the recommendation of Ryan Zinke, the last Interior secretary to tour the region — but also enlarge them to nearly 2 million acres.

“We still have cultural ties to this area. It is much like the Mormon temple up in Salt Lake City,” Clark Tenakhongva, vice chairman of the Hopi Tribe, told reporters Thursday in Blanding. “If you desecrate our shrines, our temples, down here, you are destroying our culture, our religion, our lifeline and our history of how we became part of this nation.”

Read more: https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2021/04/11/biden-is-poised-expand/
(Salt Lake Tribune)

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