SALT LAKE CITY — Congressional efforts to establish twin national monuments in San Juan County will get a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is expected to testify on the value of the Shash Jaa and Indian Creek national monuments.
The two potential designations, proposed in HR4532 sponsored by Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, are in response to the untangling of the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument when President Donald Trump visited Utah in December. The legislation will be heard before the Natural Resources' Subcommittee on Federal Lands.
Trump's actions to reduce two national monuments in Utah is under a flurry of legal challenges that include the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
That organization, along with the Sierra Club of Utah and Utah Dine Bikeyah, will hold a rally Tuesday at the Utah Capitol to reiterate their opposition to the pending legislation.
Curtis' bill maintains the existing 1.35 million-acre mineral withdrawal under the Bears Ears Monument designation by former President Barack Obama and grants tribal co-management of the Shash Jaa National Monument through the establishment of tribal management council.
That tribal management council will include seven representatives appointed by the U.S. president, including three members of the Navajo nation, a member of the White Mesa Utes of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, two members of the San Juan County Commission and a representative from either the interior or agriculture departments.
The 142,337-acre Shash Jaa monument would also include an archaeological resource protection unit with provisions and protections for sacred sites, cultural and education programming, identification of plants, animal and special resources, and identification of traditional uses such as gathering firewood.
Curtis' measure also sets up the Indian Creek National Monument of 86,447 acres to promote continued recreational access yet provide for resource protection through a management plan that incorporates "native" knowledge.
In addition to Herbert, other people slated to testify include Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe's Tribal Business Committee, Suzette Morris, a member of the Posy Band Ute Tribe of the White Mesa Ute Community in San Juan County and Matt Anderson, the Sutherland Institute's director of the Coalition for Self Government in the West.
Curtis' bill comes with $1.5 milllion for each of the fiscal years from 2018 to 2024 to carry out its provisions.