SALT LAKE CITY — A battle on Utah’s Capitol Hill Monday afternoon between those Utahns who want to turn 1.9 million acres of Bears Ears into a National Monument and be owned by federal lands, and those who oppose turning the state land over to federal lands.
Governor Gary Herbert stood alongside more than a dozen other Utah representatives in opposition to the monument.
“Mr. President, please don't mess this up with a declaration that is purely overreach and on your part,” said Rep. Rob Bishop.
Protestors and advocates filled rooms at two different press conferences at the Capitol.
Marv Poulson calls himself an advocate for native lands. He held up a sign stating, “Protect Bears Ears.” He said he grew up in the area there and wants it to be preserved.
“I watched the natural lands deteriorate by the BLM and it’s high time we had greater protection for all those areas,” said Poulson.
Another woman, Wendy Black, has lived outside the border where the monument would be for 12 years. Black said she opposes the monument.
“We are afraid it's going to be overrun by people. We are afraid it's going to be destroyed and our ways of life - we are not going to be able to do the things the way we do now,” said Black.
President Obama is expected to make a decision this week over Bears Ears with his executive order.