The Latest: House bill blocking monuments faces veto threat

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Posted: Jul 14, 2016 6:38 PM
The Latest: House bill blocking monuments faces veto threat

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a push for a new national monument in Utah (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

House Republicans have passed a spending bill that could block a new national monument in southeastern Utah. But the effort faces a White House veto threat.

Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah added a provision to an Interior Department spending bill that blocks money for any new monuments in portions of eight states, including 17 Utah counties.

The House passed the bill Thursday, but the measure is expected to run into a filibuster from Senate Democrats and the White House veto threat.

The vote comes as U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is visiting Utah to meet with supporters and opponents of the Bears Ears monument.

A coalition of tribes says the 1.9 million-acre area needs bolstered protections.

Republican leaders say the monument is overly broad and would close the area for development and recreation.

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4:10 p.m.

At least 10 environmental groups say a public lands plan from two Utah congressmen doesn't offer enough protections for a sacred Native American site in the southeastern part of the state.

The Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and other environmental groups said it's instead time for President Barack Obama to designate the Bears Ears area as a national monument to protect it from looting, vandalism or energy development.

Republican Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop oppose the monument plan and instead on Thursday released legislation that protects a smaller area around Bears Ears as a conservation area.

Chaffetz notes that several environmental groups, including The Pew Charitable Trusts, are supportive of their effort.

Pew says it has concerns with some provisions in the legislation but it supports its fundamental premise.

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2:55 p.m.

A Utah congressman says it's helpful that U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is touring southeast Utah this week amid a push by a coalition of tribes for President Barack Obama to declare a new national monument at the sacred Native American site.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz says Jewell is taking every meeting that his office and Utah Rep. Rob Bishop have suggested as they propose an alternative plan to the monument.

Chaffetz says he wants Jewell to understand how locals opposed to the monument would feel its effects.

A bill from Bishop and Chaffetz released Thursday would instead designate 1.4 million acres around Bears Ears as a conservation area. The bill is a broad land plan that protects 4.5 million acres in Utah and opens up 1 million acres for energy development and other uses.

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1:10 p.m.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is touring southeast Utah canyons and monuments while meeting with environmentalists, local politicians and others on a trip to research a proposal to create a new national monument.

Jewell on Thursday was touring archaeological and recreation sites outside the cities of Moab and Monticello. Jewell is meeting with supporters and opponents of the proposed Bears Ears monument.

A coalition of tribes says the 1.9 million-acre area needs bolstered protections.

Opponents say a monument would create another layer of unnecessary federal control and close the area for development and recreation. They're instead backing legislation from U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz that would have Congress designate 1.4 million acres around Bears Ears as a conservation area.

Jewell is meeting with representatives for Bishop and Chaffetz while on her Utah tour.

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10:50 a.m.

Two Utah congressmen have unveiled legislation to protect land considered sacred to Native Americans, a plan seen as an alternative to designating the area as a national monument.

The bill from Republican U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz was released Thursday as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is visiting Utah to meet with supporters and opponents of the Bears Ears monument.

A coalition of tribes says the 1.9 million-acre area needs bolstered protections. Opponents say a monument would create another layer of unnecessary federal control and close the area for development and recreation.

One of two bills from the congressmen would protect 1.4 million acres around Bears Ears. The other bill would bar President Barack Obama from naming a monument in seven Utah counties, including the area in dispute.

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1 a.m.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be visiting the expansive Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah this week to meet with people and go on field visits to research a proposal to create a new national monument.

A coalition of Native American tribes says the lands are sacred and in need of bolstered protections. The proposal, however, has become the latest battleground in the Western public lands debate.

Republican leaders, some residents and a few Native Americans oppose a proposal they believe would become another layer of unnecessary federal control and close the area for development and recreation.

GOP lawmakers are proposing instead to protect about 4 million acres of land in the state and open up 1 million acres around the state for recreation and oil and gas development.