The fight for Bears Ears
If one Utah Republican has his way, the state will soon pay homage to the president, renaming a scenic highway after President Donald Trump.
Rep. Mike Noel has sponsored a bill that would amend the name of the Utah National Parks Highway to the Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway. The road passes more than 600 miles of scenic national parks, including the Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments that Trump partially dismantled late last year.
“President Trump cares about public lands and he cares about Utahns and what we think,” Noel told lawmakers Monday during a House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee meeting, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The committee advanced the bill Monday on a party-line vote 9-2, and it heads to the Utah House next. Should the bill reach the Senate, promised Democrat Jim Dabakis on Twitter, he hopes to affix an amendment to the bill to rename a frontage road the “Stormy Daniels rampway,” a nod to allegations that Trump had an affair with Daniels, an adult film star, and paid for her silence.
The Utah Young Republicans and rural county commissioners are among the bill’s supporters, according to KSL.com, but some constituents are reportedly up in arms over the idea. In addition, environmental groups and Native Americans have criticized the proposal.
Critics are also worried over the cost of the proposal, should it become law. According to the Tribune, installation of 62 signs bearing the new name of the route would cost $124,000. That doesn’t take into account the cost to address potential vandalism of the signs, opponents said.
“Guests to our state will not want to drive on a highway with this name. Frankly, some of them could be offended,” said Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek.
Noel scoffed at that notion, as well as the idea that Trump’s 2-million acre reduction of Utah monuments was harmful, the Washington Post reported.
“This is a president who actually delivered on his promises. He has done great things for the state of Utah,” Noel said.