Governor Leavitt has responded to the recent defeat of the monument initiative by sending a letter to President Bush asking him to discontinue any monument planning process for the San Rafael Swell. The letter reads:
Dear President Bush:
I wrote to you last April inviting you to consider creating a national monument in the San Rafael Swell, a choice expanse of land in Emery County, Utah, loved and used by many.
As part of my request, I indicated the importance to Utah of engaging in a thorough public process before any monument designation is considered.
You graciously responded by asking Secretary Norton to begin just such a process. You stated that an open and public information gathering process was personally important to you. Further, you stated your desire to consider carefully all of the information before making any decision.
I am sorry to report to you that the citizens of Emery County recently voted by ballot referendum to end the process. Because of my commitment to the local citizens, I now respectfully request that you terminate the process.
While I am disappointed with this outcome, I am grateful for your personal attention to our state and the goodwill you have shown by your willingness to foster public participation in land management decisions.
Michael O. Leavitt
Governor Leavitt's spokeswoman, Natalie Gochnour expressed the governor's disappointment with the outcome of the election. He initially invited the people to be part of the process that gave locals a big seat at the table and he has experienced a sense of disappointment at the turn of events.
His letter to President Bush coincides with his promise to abide by the wishes of the Emery County people. Gochnour emphasized that Governor Leavitt realizes that the federal agencies and the outside environmentalist groups will be heavily involved in the planning for management of these public lands.
The governor will continue to be productive in dealing with public lands issues. Currently the information for the legal work for the RS-2477 roads is being compiled and the governor is actively involved in this fight for right-of-ways for roads.