Bears Ears hubbub, GOP platform pushes state control and #BlackLivesMatter news in brief.


On July 16, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited Bluff, Utah, for a public hearing on a proposal from five regional tribes to designate the Bears Ears National Monument. The proposed monument is intended to increase protections on 1.9 million acres of federally managed canyons and mesas, land that is archaeologically rich and considered sacred by many Native Americans. Hundreds of people began lining up to comment more than three hours before the hearing began. Despite worries about potential flare-ups, the hearing was impassioned but largely respectful. The divides between critics and supporters are blurry: While the monument, which would be partially managed by tribes, has received substantial Native American support, many tribal members are resistant. Shirley Clarke, a Navajo living in Blanding, Utah, worried that a monument would attract more people and result in more environmental and cultural impacts. Others fear the designation would cut off access to tribal land and traditional piñon-gathering areas. Approximately 70 people spoke during the three-and-a-half-hour hearing, with members of the public chosen by lottery to give input. Just about everyone who spoke clearly cared about the landscape in question and wanted it to be protected to some degree, even those most passionately opposed to the monument. Jewell largely refrained from comment. It’s not clear when a decision on the monument will be made, but, with the end of President Barack Obama’s term looming, it’s likely to be in the next several months.
-Jonathan Thompson 

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visits ancient cliff dwellings in McCloyd Canyon near Blanding, Utah, during a tour of the area that includes the proposed Bears Ears National Monument last month. Jewell also attended a public hearing in Bluff, Utah.
U.S. Department of the Interior


"(Congress must) immediately pass universal legislation providing the timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to the states."

—The 2016 Republican Party platform draft as it read, in part, going into the Republican National Convention in July. The 2012 platform had similar, but slightly more nuanced, language: “Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining or forestry through private ownership.” 

905Number of signatures gathered on a White House petition calling for the firing of National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. Jarvis is under scrutiny for not taking swifter action to address charges that the agency has a culture of sexual harassment and employee misconduct.
-Lyndsey Gilpin

People on Twitter posted protests from around the West, including tweets from @BLMLA, @JanetRWeil and @bethnakamura.

In July, white police officers fatally shot two black men — Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Then, during a Dallas protest, a sniper shot and killed five police officers. Although the events didn’t take place in the West, Western communities, both urban and rural, grapple with racial justice and policing. That was made even clearer as people protested across the region in the following weeks.  
-Lyndsey Gilpin 

Writer Edward Abbey died on March 14, 1989. Several recent books take on his environmental legacy and his difficult views on other issues, particularly women and minorities. All the Wild that Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West seeks insights for today, as forces like climate change threaten the two writers’ beloved landscapes. Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and his Hidden Desert Grave is Sean Prentiss’ quest for posthumous advice on how to live a life that is meaningful. And Abbey in America: A Philosopher’s Legacy in a New Century offers an anthology of perspectives on Abbey.
-Andrea Clark Mason

You say

Janet Moench: “His credentials in regard to wilderness are impeccable; other than that, he is simply another human, warts and all.”

Mike Zobbe: “He inspired me to stand up for the natural world, but he was a bit of a bigot.”

Lynn Jackson: “Great writer, deep thinker. But I wish he had romanticized some place other than Moab. I put a great deal of what has become of Moab (little of it good) squarely on old Cactus Ed’s writings about the place.”

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