The potential sale of more than 1,600 acres of federal land located within the previous boundaries of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was announced in mid-August and then quickly canceled. “The secretary did not see the proposal before it went out and was not happy about it,” said a senior Interior Department official, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt said that the agency’s proposal to privatize these lands was “inconsistent” with department policy and would be changed. “The failure to capture this inconsistency stops with me,” the deputy secretary wrote in a memo obtained by The Tribune. Bernhardt’s memo said that no BLM lands will be sold. “As the secretary has made clear throughout his tenure, the Department of the Interior is opposed to the wholesale sale or transfer of public lands to states or private interests,” wrote Bernhardt.
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