Southern Utah counties declare state of emergency over shutdown

Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-07 20:55:27-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah — The Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a proclamation declaring a local emergency Monday due to the “economic disruptions arising from the closure of Zion National Park and federally managed campgrounds.”

The proclamation was made following a Monday morning meeting of commissioners from Washington, Kane, San Juan, Garfield, Sevier, Grand, Iron, Wayne and Piute Counties, along with Supervisors from Coconino and Mohave Counties in Arizona.

Representatives for each of those counties reported economic downturn and distress in their areas, according to a press release from Washington County.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners then met early Monday afternoon and passed the proclamation. Click here to read it.

Along with Washington County Iron, Kane, Grand, Piute and Garfield Counties filed separate resolutions declaring a state of emergency.

Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller called the closures “a stunt by clowns in the White House and is nothing less than an exercise in abuse of power.”

Nate McDonald at the Governor’s Office said they received the proclamations from the counties this afternoon and those resolutions are under review.

Gov. Gary Herbert has had no reaction to the proclamations as of Monday evening.

According to Washington County’s proclamation, more than 75 percent of the land in Washington County is managed by the federal government and the closure of Zion National Park and other federally managed attractions and facilities has had a “devastating impact” on county residents who rely on visitors.

The proclamation also says “this severe and direct impact has an indirect impact on the rest of the economy in Washington County because of the lack of spending by those residents directly impacted by the lack of tourists.”

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