- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on a proposal to name a new national monument in Utah (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

Two Utah congressman and Gov. Gary Herbert say they worry President Barack Obama will use the waning days of his administration to name a new national monument in the state.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz said at a news conference on KUED-TV Thursday that he and other members of Utah’s delegation had been having regular, weekly conversations with the administration about their opposition to a monument and an alternative lands plan but that’s “gone pretty close to radio silent.”

Herbert says Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough assured in him a Monday phone call that no decision has been made about a proposed monument in southern Utah’s Bears Ears area.

Messages seeking comment Thursday were not returned by White House representatives.

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10:40 a.m.

Three members of Utah’s congressional delegation made a rare appearance Thursday joining Gov. Gary Herbert’s monthly news conference to speak out against a proposed national monument in southern Utah.

Herbert usually appears alone at the news conferences at KUED-TV, but Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Rob Bishop are partnering with the governor Thursday morning as the four Republicans fear a new monument is imminent in the Bears Ears area.

Sen. Mike Lee was originally scheduled to attend but did not appear because he was meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York.

A coalition of tribes in the area says the sacred Native American site needs more protection because it’s under threat from looting and damage from ATVs. They’ve asked Obama to designate a 1.9 million-acre monument. Obama has not said if he will do so.

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