Attachment: Documents Relating to Bears Ears Designation
Documents Relating to Bears Ears Designation
(1) An Internal Timeline of Events produced by the Department shows repeated contacts with Senator Hatch, Chairman Bishop, Chairman Chaffetz, and their staffs over four years since 2013, including meetings or calls with the Secretary in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as feedback in the form of technical assistance on their bill, the PLI.
(2) Eleven emails from twelve weeks from August 2, 2016, to December 28, 2016, the day President Obama designated Bears Ears a National Monument, show the coordination of weekly phone calls between Department staff and staff from the offices of Chairman Bishop, Chairman Chaffetz, Senator Lee, Senator Hatch, and Governor Herbert.
(3) On December 21, 2016, Governor Herbert’s Policy Director sent an email to Nicole Buffa, Secretary Jewell’s Deputy Chief of Staff, thanking her for her work on the Bears Ears project, writing: “Thanks again for all your time. I’m not kidding when I say you’re an amazing example of a public servant. I have the utmost respect for you. Thank you for your time and attention.”
(4) On July 5, 2016, Nicole Buffa, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Jewell, sent an email to Senator Hatch’s Deputy Legislative Director and others, writing: “As we talked about, SJ [Secretary Jewell] very much wants to travel to Utah to meet with local stakeholders, the tribes, local electeds, and the public to discuss conservation in southern Utah. ... During her visit, we’d like to have smaller meetings with PLI supporters in San Juan County. Would one of you be able to send me a list of folks we should be talking with? I’m open to any and all suggestions.”
(5) On July 18, 2016, Governor Herbert’s Policy Director sent an email to Nicole Buffa, Secretary Jewell’s Deputy Chief of Staff, complimenting the success of Secretary Jewell’s visit to Utah, writing: “I have to compliment you on a wonderful trip. As I recently relayed to the Governor’s Chief of Staff, your team orchestrated a comprehensive, balanced, well-run, and effective trip of southeast Utah. I also have to compliment you on the listening session on Saturday. We were worried it might get out of hand but it went off brilliantly. Kudos to you and your team!”
(6) On September 2, 2016, Christopher P. Salotti, Legislative Counsel for the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Department, sent a letter conveying technical assistance to Chairman Bishop and Chairman Chaffetz, writing: “In accordance with your July 20, 2016, request, the Department of the Interior has prepared the enclosed technical assistance on H.R. 5780, the Utah Public Lands Initiative. ... In addition to what is noted throughout the draft, the Department would like the opportunity to work with the bill sponsors on the individual boundary modifications both to improve manageability and ensure protection of natural, cultural, and other resources in those areas.”
(7) On July 31, 2016, Secretary Jewell sent a handwritten note to Governor Herbert, writing: “Many thanks for meeting with me at the airport before my visit to the counties in SE Utah. … As you have read and heard from [the Governor’s staff], the meetings were respectful and covered many different points of view. Spending time with [employees] of SITLA [School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration] was very helpful in understanding the state’s interest in land swaps and consolidation—we will continue to work with them. Please keep me informed if you still wish to have me visit the state with you in the fall. We are glad the PLI was finally released during my visit. My team is reviewing it carefully and will continue to work with the delegation. … The different points of view weren’t as far apart as people anticipated. These lands deserve further protection and resources—that was fairly universal.”
(8) On September 13, 2016, a staffer to Senator Lee emailed Nicole Buffa, Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Jewell, writing: “Sorry for the late notice but Lee and Hatch are about to introduce a bill that would prohibit use of the Antiquities Act within Utah. Since it is looking like Congress, the hardest working institution in America, is going to get out of dodge next week, we may not have the opportunity to introduce PLI. The plan has always been to defer to Bishop, let him work and move PLI through the House, and then introduce in the Senate. With our new truncated calendar, that may not be possible. … We are still reviewing your ta [technical assistance] and deciding how to proceed. Just wanted to keep you informed since you have been forthcoming with us.”
(9) On September 13, 2016, an employee with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration emailed staff at the Department of the Interior thanking them for meeting, writing: “We truly appreciate the amount of time your office has devoted to the school trust land issue.”
(10) On July 30, 2016, Secretary Jewell sent a handwritten note to County of Emery Commissioners expressing her appreciation for their meeting, writing: “Thank you for hosting my recent visit and for sharing your work on land use planning for the county. … I also appreciated the opportunity to better understand the process Emery County has undertaken as part of the Public Lands Initiative.”
(11) On December 31, 2015, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, comprised of local tribe Uintah & Ouray Ute, as well as the Hopi, Ute Mountain, and Zuni Governments, sent a letter to Chairmen Bishop and Chaffetz, writing: “Our strenuous efforts to participate in the PLI, and related proceedings before that over the course of the past six years, have been consistently stonewalled. We have never been taken seriously. Now 2½ months after submitting our proposal to you, we have received no reactions at all from you on your proposal. The promised draft PLI was never delivered. All of this is consistent with PLI’s repeated failures to meet deadlines. Our five sovereign tribal nations, and our carefully-drafted comprehensive proposal, deserve far more than that. … We don’t feel we can wait any longer before engaging with the Obama Administration concerning our proposal in the hope that they will advance our proposal via the Antiquities Act.”
(12) On June 29, 2016, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition sent a letter to the Utah Delegation, writing: “As you know, we withdrew from the Public Lands Initiative process late last year. We set out in detail our reasons for withdrawing in a letter to you dated December 31, 2015. In the intervening months, your approach toward our proposal and our coalition have reaffirmed the concerns expressed in our December letter. ... We are satisfied that a Bears Ears National Monument proclaimed by President Obama under his authority granted by the Antiquities Act presents the best opportunity to protect the Bears Ears landscape and assure a strong Native American voice in monument management. We hope you will join us in supporting a Bears Ears National Monument.”
(13) On July 23, 2016, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition sent a letter to Chairman Bishop and Chairman Chaffetz, writing: “We do not see how further discussions can be productive. The basic problem is that our two sides hold dramatically different views on what should be done in the Bears Ears area. Our proposal calls for strong conservation measures and deep involvement of the Tribes in monument management. The current version of the PLI is highly protective of mining and other forms of development to the detriment of land protection.”
(14) On September 20, 2016, 31 current and former local officials and candidates sent a letter to President Obama supporting a Bears Ears National Monument designation, writing: “There is a false media narrative around the effort to protect Bears Ears that would have you believe that Utah elected officials are unanimously opposed to a Bears Ears National Monument. We hope this letter puts that narrative to rest and we ask that you use your authority under the Antiquities Act to protect this land for all people, for all time.”
(15) On October 4, 2016, Gene Davis, the Utah Senate Minority Leader, sent a letter to President Obama supporting a Bears Ears National Monument, writing: “Now it’s the time to take action. With little chance of Congress protecting the Bears Ears region, you should use your authority to establish the Bears Ears National Monument and ensure permanent protection of this unique region. In doing so, you would be heeding the calls of Native American tribes, labor unions, veterans, business owners, faith leaders, sportsmen, recreationalists, conservationists, and many others who wish to see these lands protected and appropriate access ensured.”
(16) On March 12, 2015, the Navajo Nation Council’s Committee passed a resolution supporting a Bears Ears National Monument Designation, making clear that “the Navajo Nation includes communities in San Juan County, Utah,” and warning that “to prevent this rapid destruction of lands in the San Juan County region important to Native peoples, formal protection as a national conservation area or national monument is required.”
(17) On November 30, 2016, a coalition of 18 national, regional, and local conservation groups sent President Obama a letter supporting a Bears Ears monument designation, writing: “We urge you to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument this year. … Despite its vast cultural significance, inadequate legal protections and insufficient funding have resulted in the degradation and destruction of these archaeological treasures from illegal looting, mismanaged recreational use, and inappropriate energy development. The designation of this new national monument, including adequate funding, will provide the enhanced protections required to protect this national treasure.”
(18) On September 9, 2016, the Friends of Cedar Mesa sent a map to Secretary Jewell showing a problematic land trade near Bluff, Utah that was proposed in Chairman Bishop’s PLI legislation on behalf of SITLA (School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration).
(19) On January 6, 2016, Friends of Cedar Mesa, a conservation group based in Utah, emailed Neil Kornze, Director of the Bureau of Land Management, to request a meeting, writing: “We would like to speak briefly with you about ongoing damage to archaeological resources, the critical importance of this area to recreation enthusiasts from around the world, and our thoughts about possible legislative and administrative actions to conserve this area, including collaborative management ideas.”
(20) On October 11, 2016, Bruce Adams, Commissioner of San Juan County, emailed the Executive Assistant to Nicole Buffa to confirm a meeting to discuss alternatives to a monument designation, writing: “Our primary mission is to invite agencies from the Department of Interior to participate in revision of the San Juan County Master Plan and positively touch a few points in the report that we believe the various agencies may wish to consider going forward.”
(21) On March 30, 2016, Secretary Jewell’s Deputy Chief of Staff emailed Senator Hatch’s staff to thank them for meeting, writing: “Thank you again for the impromptu meeting with [redacted] and me a few weeks ago! I’m glad we had the chance to sit down and connect and hope that we are able to speak again soon.”
(22) On November 3, 2016, a staffer for Senator Mike Lee sent an email to inform Secretary Jewell’s Deputy Chief of Staff of a meeting Senator Lee’s office had with the Bears Ears Coalition, writing: “The conversation went well. Both sides were conciliatory and regretted the current state of affairs. Much of the meeting was necessarily spent atoning and promising to work towards our shared goal: protecting Bears Ears.”