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Washington • The House passed legislation Thursday that would limit the president's ability to name a new national monument in a large swath of Utah, including one covering the Bears Ears region in the state's southeastern corner.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, had inserted into the bill, which would fund the Interior Department, language that forbids the government from spending any money to create a new monument in 17 of Utah's 29 counties. All four of Utah's House members voted for the measure.
The bill does not take away the president's power under the Antiquities Act to name a new monument, but without funding, it essentially makes moot any attempt to do so.
"Using the Antiquities Act as a political weapon is bad policy and furthers the distrust that exists between Americans and the federal government," Stewart said in a statement. "I am a strong supporter of our country's public lands and protecting our national treasures, but it must be done through Congress, with the input of the American people."
The White House has threatened to veto the legislation if it makes it through the Senate.