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Herbert, Hatch Visit Bears Ears

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Sen. Orin Hatch made a visit to the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah on Thursday.

Both Herbert and Hatch have expressed their opposition to the push to designate the area as a national monument, claiming it would hurt the state economy and impede future development. Supporters of designating the Bears Ears as a national monument claim that the historic and cultural sites in the area are under threat from damage by off-road vehicles.

A special legislative session two weeks ago produced a resolution passed by the state Senate and House of Representatives opposing President Barack Obama’s desire to declare the national monument.

Gauging public opinion on the issue has been difficult. The month of May saw two contradictory polls released on whether Utahns supported the creation of a national monument in the Bear Ears area. A survey by Creation Justice Ministries found that 71 percent of Utahns wanted a monument. However a poll by Dan Jones and Associates found that only 17 percent of voters were in favor, while 36 percent wanted the area to remain as it is.