This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
President Barack Obama is obliged by his constitutionally defined duties and obligations to designate the nearly two million acres of Navajo, Hopi, Ute and Zuni ancestral lands as the Bears Ears National Monument.
You will note that I am not saying that the president is within his constitutional rights to create this new national monument. I am stating quite bluntly and correctly that he is required to do so.
President Obama is president of all Americans and of all 50 states, not the president only of those states whose electoral votes he received or of those citizens who have given him their personal votes and their affections. He is president of all of the lands contained within each and every one of those states, lands that belong to all of us and to millions not yet born.
They belong to my grandchildren and to yours for the future enjoyment and respectful use of all Americans. That means they do not belong to the looters and vandals, such as those who used a rock saw to desecrate an ancient petroglyph near Bluff earlier this year.
They are not available for the greedy and perpetual looting by the oil and gas industry and by those local politicians who are its creatures.
The threat of an armed insurrection such as recently occurred in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon should not deter the president from designating Bears Ears as a new national monument, and, should such a crime be committed, then those who perpetuate it should be prosecuted as felons, not lauded as patriots.
Michael J. Lombardi