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SLC mayor urges Interior Secretary to preserve Bears Ears

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Jackie Biskupski has sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, urging him to preserve Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

In the letter, submitted as part of the public comment on a review of Bears Ears National Monument, the mayor said rescinding it would have an economic impact on Salt Lake City — even though it is hundreds of miles away.

“Our Capital City is the gateway to the majestic national parks and monuments that make Southern Utah a worldwide tourist destination. These lands are powerful economic drivers for our city, with thousands of visitors launching their adventures to these iconic landscapes from Salt Lake City,” she wrote.

The mayor also cited the recent decision by the Outdoor Retailer show to leave over public lands stances by Utah’s Republican political leaders. She also said opening the areas up to development could impact clean energy goals in Salt Lake City.

Secretary Zinke recently toured Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments as part of a review ordered by President Trump of the Antiquities Act. He is contemplating whether to rescind or reduce the monument boundaries.

The Interior Department is taking public comment on the monuments. The deadline to comment on Bears Ears is May 26.

Read the mayor’s letter here: