House Joint Resolution No. 13
Introduced By curtiss, rehbein, feland, sliter, baer, benedict, simpkins, keenan, ellis, orr, adams, bergman, mcgee, wells, keating
A Joint Resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the state of Montana urging Congress to amend President Clinton's unilateral action in designating the Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument; urging Congress to require negotiation with the states and a stronger consideration of the social and economic consequences in the designation of national monuments and wilderness areas; and requiring the Secretary of State to transmit copies of the Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument Resolution.
WHEREAS, on September 18, 1996, President Clinton declared 1.7 million acres in southern Utah as the Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument; and
WHEREAS, the President abused the purpose of the 90-year-old Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to act without Congressional approval, by significantly overreaching in the number of acres designated; and
WHEREAS, the President ignored repeated requests to work through the legislative processes already in place under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to determine areas appropriate for designation as wilderness and national areas and national monuments; and
WHEREAS, the President ignored repeated requests from Utah's leaders to negotiate a compromise; and
WHEREAS, the President failed to adequately consider the social implications of national monument designation, including the fact that 200,000 acres of Utah's school trust lands lie within the designated areas and will be rendered useless, resulting in a potential loss of billions of dollars for the education of Utah's schoolchildren; and
WHEREAS, the President failed to consider the social implications of substantial numbers of citizens being displaced from their homes, places of employment, and way of life as a result of the loss of economic development that will follow the designation; and
WHEREAS, the President failed to adequately consider the economic implications of national monument designation, including the potential tax revenue loss to the federal and state governments and to the school trust fund of billions of dollars from mineral and petroleum exploration and development and related jobs; and
WHEREAS, the President failed to adequately consider the environmental implications of national monument designation, such as that the 62 billion tons of coal deposits in the Kaiparowits Coal Basin are an extremely efficient, low-sulfur, clean-burning coal and that given the vast reserves of clean-burning coal available, it is not environmentally or economically sound to continue to "waste" clean-burning coal reserves; and
WHEREAS, to ignore large, domestic deposits of our cleanest-burning coal only increases our dependence on foreign energy sources and reduces our energy and national security; and
WHEREAS, the President failed to consider alternative plans that would result in a more sound environmental protection policy; and
WHEREAS, the declaration of nearly 2 million acres as a national monument does nothing to preserve a wilderness area; instead, the area will likely become clogged with roads and tourist buses; and
WHEREAS, an alternative proposal would allow 350,000 acres to be designated as true "wilderness" areas to preserve their natural beauty, while other areas could be designated as a national monument and still others reserved for mineral activity, which makes sense socially, economically, and environmentally; and
WHEREAS, the creation of the Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument presents significant negative social, economic, and environmental consequences for not only Utah's citizens, but all Americans.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the State of Montana support policies that balance the social, economic, and environmental needs of people and communities with the needs of environmental preservation in federal decisionmaking processes.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the State of Montana urge Congress to amend the President's unilateral action to require negotiation with the states and a stronger consideration of the social and economic consequences, including takings, in whole or in part, in the designation of national monuments and wilderness areas.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be referred to as the Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument Resolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State transmit a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, the Governor of the State of Utah, the Council of State Governments-West, and to each member of Montana's Congressional Delegation and state Legislature.