Mayor says federal monuments hurt jobs

Sept. 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The mayor of Escalante, Utah, is asking Congress to remove the president's ability to name federal monuments without congressional approval, a report said.

Mayor Jerry Taylor says the 1996 creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has blocked the ability to mine veins of coal and tap into natural gas and oil resources that could have brought jobs to residents of the small rural community, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"I wish I could say it was a great economic boon for our community, but I cannot," Taylor testified Tuesday before the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and national forests.

A local outfitter in Escalante testified against the proposal, saying the monument has been good for his business and has boosted the local tourism industry. Taylor, however, said he can't see where it has brought in any jobs for the southern Utah community.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican who chairs the subcommittee, is pushing a measure that would prevent the president from naming any monuments in Utah without congressional approval. The newspaper said several other House members have proposed similar legislation for their own states.

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