Representatives from 11 Utah counties calling for state control of federal lands are not sure what to expect when President Donald Trump visits Utah on Monday. County commissioners who are members of FIRM, the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management, say at the very least Trump’s planned visit to the state demonstrates his support of residents living in rural Utah.
“We need to get things back into local control and kind of go from there,” said Stan Summers, chair of the Box Elder County Commission.
Summers is past president of FIRM. The watchdog group is comprised of commissioners from mostly rural areas of the state including San Juan, Uintah, Cache and Garfield counties. The group is against government agencies they say are using their bureaucratic powers to close off public lands.
“We’re not talking about drilling on top of Rainbow Ridge. We’re talking about being responsible because we have to live here and raise our family and our kids and our grandkids and we appreciate them looking at us as a local level and a participant.”
Summers represented the group in Washington, D.C. this past spring during a meeting with President Trump. They discussed public land policy and reducing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.
“You know as well as I do, the president is the president and whatever he decides to do is up to him,” Summers said. “We just appreciate everything that is going on at the local level and hopefully more local control.”
A story in the Washington Post claims the president plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante by half. A final decision is expected to be announced Monday on the steps of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.