Bowers explains, “The petition that I have written, opposing an increase to the Bears Ears Monument, is specific to the people in San Juan County having a voice when their elected officials will not consider the wishes of their constituents, but rather listen to influences outside of our county.”
Bowers adds, “We have attended commission meetings, tried to voice our concerns to the commissioners, sent them letters, asked them to slow down and meet with the people in San Juan County to discuss the issue, but to no avail. They voted on and passed the resolution with a 2-1 vote at only their third Commission meeting.”
This is the second petition that has been introduced in San Juan County. Another petition, regarding a five-member county commission, was introduced by Joe B. Lyman, Tim Young, Suzette Morris, Wendy Walker Tibbetts, and Alex Bitsinnie.
Bowers explains the two petitions, “They are two completely different petitions. While I support the other petition, that petition is a ballot petition required to add a question to the ballot about a study group for a five-member commission. That ballot will require in-person signatures of registered voters.
“This is not a ballot petition, but rather a way for San Juan County residents to express that they do not support a monument expansion.”
The text of the petition reads:
“We, the undersigned concerned citizens of San Juan County, who want to protect our lands, but disagree increasing the size of a National Monument is the way to do this, urge our leaders to revoke their resolutions in support of any increase to Bears Ears National Monuments.
“In 2016, President Barrack Obama declared the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument without local input and against wishes of local residents.
In 2017, with input from local residents and elected county, city, and state officials, President Donald Trump reduced the size of the Bears Ears National Monument to 201,876 acres.
“Now, the newly elected San Juan County Commissioners (excluding Commissioner Bruce Adams, who has voted against resolutions to support a monument increase) have passed several resolutions, speaking as the voice for San Juan County, not only to support increasing the size of Bears Ears back to the original 1.35 million acre size. They also support H.R. 871, which if passed would increase the monument to 1.9 million acres.
“We, as citizens of San Juan County, do not agree with these resolutions or our County Commissioners Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes and therefore, we must speak with our own voices.”
An online version of the petition can be found at www.standunited.org/petition/concerned-san-juan-county-ut-citizens-opposed-to-any-increase-to-bears-ears-national-monument