Public to Comment on UT Monument Plan

Public to Comment on UT Monument Plan

BLUFF, Utah (AP) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is holding a public meeting in southeast Utah on Saturday to discuss conservation proposals that include a divisive proposal to create a new national monument at a sacred Native American site.

Jewell's meeting in the town of Bluff caps off a four day research trip to Utah as a coalition of tribes urges President Barack Obama to sweet 1.9 million acres around the twin Bears Ears buttes into a national monument.

The tribes and environmental groups say the area needs strong protections from threats of looting and damage from off-highway vehicles.

Opponents, mainly Republicans, argue that the monument proposal is overly broad and could close off access to the land.

The U.S. Interior Department says Jewell's visit doesn't mean a monument decision is imminent.