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Scott G Winterton, KSL File

21 local officials in Utah support lawsuit against national monument shrinkage

By Carter Williams, KSL.com | Updated - Nov 19th, 2018 @ 4:47pm | Posted - Nov 19th, 2018 @ 1:25pm



SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and 20 other mayors and council members across Utah filed documents supporting lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump's 2017 decision to shrink two national monuments in southern Utah.

Biskupski, Boulder Mayor Steve Cox and Bluff Mayor Ann Leppanen highlighted a group who signed briefs favoring lawsuits filed by The Wilderness Society and Hopi Tribe against Trump's decision to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, according to a release from the Salt Lake City mayor's office.

Members from councils in Alta, Moab, Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County also signed similar documents.

Within the argument, Biskupski said it led to Outdoor Retailer pulling its retail conference from Salt Lake City. The retail show moved to Denver, which reportedly cost Salt Lake City millions in revenue.

“When the Trump Administration began its review of Bears Ears and Escalante, many of us knew it was only a matter of time before these Monuments were reduced and harm would come to our local economies," Biskupski said in a statement. "In Salt Lake City’s case, this harm was almost immediate with the departure of Outdoor Retailer and the $45 million dollars in tourist spending that it brought."

The group also argued that the decision also hindered local and state efforts to move away from carbon-based fuels and tarnished Utah's public lands tourism image.

Cox said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wouldn't meet with members of the Escalante and Boulder Chamber of Commerce over the Grand Staircase-Escalante, even when the group traveled to Washington, D.C.

Leppanen added that the previous agency head, Sally Jewell, had at least met with various local groups before Bears Ears National Monument was designated in 2016.

The Wilderness Society and multiple other groups filed lawsuits against the Trump administration in December 2017 — days after Trump signed two bills to turn Bears Ears National Monument into two smaller monuments and to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, dividing it into three smaller parcels.

The 21 local officials in Utah who favored the lawsuits:
  • Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City
  • Mayor Steve Cox, Boulder (Grand Staircase-Escalante only)
  • Mayor Ann Leppanen, Bluff (Bears Ears only)
  • Council Member Randy Aton, Sprindale
  • Council Member Margaret Bourke, Town of Alta Council
  • Council Member Cliff Curry, Town of Alta Council
  • Council Member Rani Derasary, Moab City Council
  • Council Member Kalen Jones, Moab City Council
  • Council Chair Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Council
  • Vice Chair Christopher Wharton, Salt Lake City Council
  • Council Member Amy Fowler, Salt Lake City Council
  • Council Member Derek Kitchen, Salt Lake City Council
  • Council Member Charlie Luke, Salt Lake City Council
  • Council Member Jim Bradley, Salt Lake County Council
  • Council Member Arlyn Bradshaw, Salt Lake County Council
  • Council Member Ann Granato, Salt Lake County Council
  • Council Member Jenny Wilson, Salt Lake County Council
  • Council Member Rich Armstrong, Summit County Council
  • Council Member Kim Carson, Summit County Council
  • Council Member Doug Clyde, Summit County Council
  • Council Member Chris Robinson, Summit County Council
  • Council Member Glenn Wright, Summit County Council
Carter Williams

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