San Juan County will be new Interior Secretary's first stop, if confirmed
Jan 17, 2017 | 7993 views | 1 1 comments | 222 222 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Juan County will be the first stop of the new Secretary of the Interior if he receives Senate approval for his position.

Ryan Zinke, the nominee for Secretary of the Interior, made the commitment to Utah Sen. Mike Lee during his confirmation hearing on January 17.

“I am absolutely committed to restoring trust,” said Zenke in response to a question by Lee. “If confirmed, I have committed to coming to Utah first and talking to the Governor and talking to the people on the ground.”

The questioning revolved around the December 28, 2016 designation of the Bears Ears National Monument by President Barack Obama using the Antiquities Act.

The 1.35-million acre monument includes 27 percent of the entire landmass of San Juan County.

“The seemingly limitless power granted to the President of the United States under the Antiquities Act is troubling,” said Lee before adding, “I hope that if you are confirmed for this position, that one of the first things you do is to come to Utah.”

“I encourage you to talk to some of the people who have been effected by the monument designation by the President on December 28.

“He designated 1.35 million acres in San Juan County, our state’s poorest county, against the overwhelming opposition of the local population of San Juan County, against the opposition of all six members of our state’s congressional delegation, against the position of our Governor, Lt. Governor, Atty General and all of our statewide elected officials.

“Will you consider visiting Utah and talking to the people affected by this monument designation, and based on what you hear, consider having a conversation with President Trump about revisiting this unfortunate step?”

In a previous question, Lee asked Zenke, “Do you view local support as a necessary precondition to the creation of a National Monument under the Antiquities Act?”

Zenke replied, “It is absolutely critical to have state and local support on a monument that they participate in.”

Outlined hios approach if confirmed, Zenke said, “If you start at the local community level, the grass roots, and you build and there is participation, then you get ahead of the problem.”

Zenke said that he would “get community support and make sure your Governor and your elected leaders are behind you.”

Zenke currently serves as a Congressman representing Montana.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 24, 2017
Sen Mike Lee well spoke. We should thank him.

We should send polite, respectful communication to both Senate and Congress, explaining our position on this.

Government rep contact information can be found at
The San Juan Record welcomes comments on our stories. Please be civil, respectful, focused and humane. Postings are not edited and are the responsibility of the author. You agree not to post comments that are abusive, threatening or obscene. Postings may be removed at the discretion of