By Matthew Anderson

1. Collusion: Investigative journalism conducted by the Deseret News confirmed reports of behind-the-scenes, coordinated efforts between environmental groups, out-of-state tribal leaders, and big money from California to bring about the proposed 1.9-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument. Take a look at our most recent video for a quick rundown of the facts.

2. Obfuscation: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited San Juan County a few weeks before Senator Mike Lee held a field hearing, to which Jewell was invited but declined to attend. Instead of hearing from the locals who would be most impacted by a designation, environmentalists bused in out-of-state supporters to drown out the local opposition. When given a chance to speak, the majority of San Juan County residents opposed the monument. However, comments made by out-of-staters could have given visiting officials the impression that the county is split on the issue because commenters were not required to provide their names or where they were from. Check out Sutherland’s undercover video and blog.

3. Exclusion: Some of the country’s biggest outdoor retailers threw their support behind the proposed Bears Ears national monument, despite opposition to the monument from most San Juan County residents. The press conference where the retailers announced their support was advertised as open to the public. That turned out not to be the case. Instead, they turned people away because of their opposing opinions. We want to take this opportunity to encourage an elevated dialogue about the Bears Ears by asking 10 questions of outdoor retailers who are calling for a monument.

4. Deletion: Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis asked his Facebook followers to comment on a photo in show of support for the Bears Ears proposal. Instead, Utahns rallied and voiced their opposition to the monument. The senator didn’t like that very much, so he deleted over 100 comments. In response, a San Juan County resident sent a spirited letter to Senator Dabakis. Read the response here.

5. Misinformation: The other side has spread many myths about the proposed Bears Ears monument designation. Betty Jones, a local San Juan County Navajo, attributes the divisiveness to the spread of misinformation from monument supporters. We cleared up a few a few of these myths on our blog.


Matt Anderson is director of Sutherland Institute’s Coalition for Self-Government in the West. He has been featured in local, national and international media, including BBC, NPR, C-SPAN, Buzzfeed, the Washington Examiner and a variety of Associated Press articles. Matt is a regular contributor to The Hill and Deseret News.

Matt graduated from Utah State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and is pursuing a master’s of political science with an emphasis in public lands policy. He is an active member of his community – volunteering on political campaigns, serving as a state delegate and precinct chair – and he is involved with a number of conservation organizations. When Matt isn’t working on public policy, you are likely to find him in Utah’s Bear River Mountain Range fly-fishing, hunting or ATV riding.


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