Statements were released yesterday by Representative Rob Bishop, Senator Mike Lee and Governor Gary Herbert following the Energy and Natural Resources field hearing on the potential Bears Ears monument designation. “Having been in San Juan County [Thursday], it is more clear than ever to me that the Public Lands Initiative is the will of the people, not a national monument,” says Representative Bishop. “Mandating a monument with the stroke of a pen will only exacerbate local issues and will chip away at people’s right to control their own destiny.” Senator Lee emphasized that a monument designation limits Native Americans ability to care for their ancestral land. “Take away their access to the land,” shares Senator Lee, “and it won’t be long before their culture begins to fade away.” Governor Herbert agreed that a monument would hurt the local communities. “A unilateral monument designation forced upon the local community would be incredibly divisive,” says Governor Herbert. “Fortunately, there is a better path forward with the Public Lands Initiative.” Officials from the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service were invited to Thursday’s hearing but declined to participate.