Vet Voice Foundation Calls on Senator Hatch to More Forcefully Reject Violence Over Bears Ears National Monument

 ·  Vet Voice Foundation, Press Release

Cedar Mesa, UT – A non-partisan veterans group working on public lands protection is today calling on Senator Orrin Hatch to more forcefully speak out against potential use of violence in protesting a potential national monument designation in Utah.  In yesterday’s Washington Post, Senator Hatch said of potential violent protests against a proposed Bears Ears National Monument, “I would hope that my fellow Utahans would not use violence, but there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored.” 

In response, Iraq veteran Garett Reppenhagen, Western States Coordinator for the Vet Voice Foundation said: 

“Sen. Hatch should do everything in his power in ensure the safety of federal employees, tourists and Utah residents. He should do more than say he ‘hopes’ there will not be violence, should the President use his congressionally-granted authority to respond to the requests of Native Americans to protect sacred public lands and stop looting and grave robbing. As a veteran of the war in Iraq, I believe it is irresponsible and dangerous to do anything less than fully condemn potential violence and threats of violence. Instead of being soft on violence, our elected officials should work to ensure all voices are heard and our shared heritage protected.” 

The designation of Bears Ears as a National Monument would protect 1.9 million acres of public lands, preserving more than 100,000 Native American cultural sites while also providing incredible recreation opportunities for visitors and important habitat for iconic American wildlife. 

Last month, Vet Voice Foundation released a letter from 247 veterans from the Four Corners states (UT, CO, NM, and AZ), including 35 Utah veterans, asking President Obama to protect the Bears Ears region of southeastern Utah as a National Monument. 

Founded in 2009, the mission of Vet Voice Foundation is to mobilize veterans to become leaders in our nation's democracy through participation in the civic and democratic process. VVF seeks to harness the energy and drive of the dedicated men and women who have fought for their country, and put it to work at home and in their communities on the important issues they face, such as health care, jobs, the environment, and housing.