Gov. Herbert signs H.C.R. 12

SALT LAKE CITY (February 17, 2017) – Gov. Gary R. Herbert today signed H.C.R. 12, Concurrent Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Upon signing the resolution, the governor said:

The Antiquities Act directs that any national monument designation shall “be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” The 1996 designation by President Bill Clinton of nearly 1.9 million acres as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument violated both the language and intent of the act by setting aside an area far larger than what was necessary to properly protect the objects of concern.

We must keep the vast size of this monument in perspective. Consider that the combined acreage of Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks totals 840,589 acres. The total area protected by Grand Staircase-Escalante is more than two-times the size of our national parks combined.

I am not opposed to the use of the Antiquities Act, but I am opposed to its abuse. It was this abuse of the act that compelled Gov. Mike Leavitt in 1997 to sign a concurrent resolution opposing the monument; it is what spurred the Utah Legislature to pass a similar joint resolution in 1998; and it is what motivated me to sign a concurrent resolution just two years ago expressing the need for congressional legislation to improve the Antiquities Act to include public participation when creating new national monuments.

I lend my signature to this resolution to express not only opposition to the manner in which the Grand Staircase-Escalante was designated as a monument, but to call for federal legislative actions to correct this misuse of federal law.