Bears Ears (Utah)
Bears Ears is the most obvious national monument under threat, and perhaps the most important due to its symbolic value. Established in the waning days of the Obama administration, Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration view it as an egregious overstep of power. Behind the scenes however, there’s no doubt that oil and gas interests are playing a strong role. “The oil and gas industry has been blatant in making it clear that they want to drill in the Bears Ears region,” says Weiss. “We have seen statements from the Western Managing Alliance admitting that.” Indeed, Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance oil and gas organization, has called the land “prospective for oil and natural gas.”
“That’s clearly what’s going on here,” Weiss continues. “This is an oil and gas play, and that’s why they don’t like this monument designation. [Congressman] Rob Bishop’s donations come from the oil and gas industry, so it’s not a surprise that he’s carrying water for them on this.” In 2015-2016, Congressman Bishop took a reported $150,000 from oil and gas interests.
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