President Barack Obama had designated 16 million acres of Utah and Nevada property into national monuments. This will protect Native American artifacts from future natural resource extraction. This will also help to protect the environment in these areas.

 

1906 Antiquities Act granted the President to protect these areas. 1.35 million acres of federal property had also been protected in Bears Ears, Utah. 300,000 additional acres on the outskirts of Las Vegas are also protected under this order.

 

The government of Utah is not exactly pleased with the new designation of this land. They claim that the President had misused his powers and this is against the wishes of their citizens. The state plans on actively appealing the decision made by Obama.

 

The Nevada government is not entirely upset over the decision but they wish that Obama would have contacted them before making the decision. This was an expected decision by experts in the area but it could have been done in a better manner.

 

This usage of the Antiquities Act is the largest ever in the nation’s history. The quick decision may be due making last minute decisions before Trump is sworn in as President. The federal government has been receiving petitions for years over protecting the Bears Ears region. The Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni have come together in a coalition to protect historical sites like Bears Ears.

 

The Republican congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz had tried and failed to propose measures to protect the Bears Ears region. The Public Lands Initiative was a compromise to leave some of the areas untouched but enabled natural resource extraction in other areas. This bill did not even make it to the voting process. Republicans plan on fighting Obama’s decision to make more of a compromise.

 

Categories: Native American, Native American Monuments

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