Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told the White House late Friday he would "move heaven and earth" to ensure the Obama administration doesn't declare two national monuments in Utah.
Hatch said he spoke to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on Friday to tell the federal government to back off plans to designate monuments in San Juan and Emery counties in Utah.
“I will move heaven and earth to make sure that the federal government does not make two monument designations in Utah and that’s the message I delivered to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel today,” Hatch said in a statement. “I made very clear to him that if the Administration goes down this road, it will meet absolute outrage and opposition from across the state and from me representing Utah in the United States Senate."
At issue is a leaked Department of Interior draft showing the administration's plan for potential monuments in Utah. The monument designation is intended to block development of oil and coal resources by having the government take over administration of the land designated part of the monument.
Hatch cited concerns of federal infringement into Utah for spurring his opposition to the proposal.
"These lands don’t belong to the government, they belong to the public," he said. "But the very consideration of these designations demonstrates that Washington wants to dictate to us how our lands will be managed.”