Lee, Romney reintroduce act to prevent monument surprises
WASHINGTON D.C. — Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, has reintroduced the Protecting Utah’s Rural Economy, or PURE, Act that would prohibit presidents from creating a new National Park or monument in Utah unless they get approval from Congress or the State Legislature.
Senator Mitt Romney, also R-Utah, is a co-sponsor of the bill.
Lee thinks the bill would give local communities and ranchers a voice in land management policies.
“Unfortunately, what was once [The Antiquities Act] a narrowly targeted tool for preventing looting on federal lands has become a weapon urban elites use against hard working rural Americans,” Lee said in a statement.
Alaska and Wyoming have similar exemptions from the Antiquities Act.
Environmental groups have opposed the bill in the past because they fear it would open land up to development or mining.
Utah lawmakers protested the creation of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by President Bill Clinton and Bears Ears National Monument by President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump traveled to Utah to announce a reduction in the size of both monuments, in a move that was protested by environmentalists and some tribal authorities but applauded by local leaders, both in southern Utah and in Salt Lake City.