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14 senators pitch new national monument in Utah

By Mary Richards, KSL Newsradio | Posted - Jul 31st, 2014 @ 9:07am


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SALT LAKE CITY — United States Senators are urging President Obama to create a new national monument in Utah.

Fourteen senators, including Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and others sent a letter to the president saying Utah should have a Greater Canyonlands National Monument.

They say the 1.8 million acres around Canyonlands National Park are some of the nation’s most stunning, wild and unique landscapes and should “be permanently protected.”

In his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about protecting land.

"I'll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations," he said at the time, not referring to any specific area.

Some Utah leaders said they do not support the idea. They said the president should not carve out land in Utah and block it from access and energy development without local support.

"I'm never big on national monuments being created by a president," said Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah. "I think it ought to go through the legislative process where we can have witnesses and input from all the stakeholders. That's the way you make public lands decisions."

"We all know Canyonlands is a wonderful place. I've been all over that park and I love that area," he added. "It was drawn with some straight lines and created with boundaries, where there may be some natural geographic formations that may make more sense as boundaries. If we want to have a discussion on altering the boundaries, let's have that discussion, but we shouldn't have the president do that with the stroke of a pen."

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