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The following is an email exchange on September 10 and 11 between Josh Ewing, executive

director of Friends of Cedar Mesa, and Bill Keshlear.

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September 10, 2019


From Josh Ewing to Bill Keshlear

Hi Bill: Thank you for reaching out for comment.

A friend of mine alerted me about your blog post yesterday. I was, of course, livid that anyone
affiliated with our organization might have made such an outlandishly inappropriate and patently
false statement to someone visiting our Education Center.

As a very moderate person with ranching and deeply religious roots, I've worked hard to build an
organization that seeks at every turn to foster respect and civility, even when we might disagree with
our neighbors on emotionally charged issues, like the size of Bears Ears National Monument. As you
may know, I served on the SJCo Public Lands Council. Doing so, I quickly learned that we have
much more in common than we have disagreements, regardless of where we are from and where
we go to church. There's absolutely no good to come from assuming the worst of neighbors, and it's
just plain wrong to assume people of faith don't want to see their backyards preserved and visitors
educated about how to minimize their impacts while visiting sites sacred to Tribes and Pueblos. The
entire point of the Bears Ears Education Center is to focus on something we can all agree on, which
is the need for everyone to Visit with Respect. FCM's leadership wants the Center to be a space that
is welcoming and respectful of ALL.

Furthermore, it's completely inaccurate for anyone to assert that religion had any bearing,
whatsoever, in the choice of a location for our Education Center. We are a Bluff-based non-profit,
focused on protecting the culturally rich public lands of southern San Juan County. All of our
employees and several board members live here. It was a huge enough lift to open one visitor
center, in our home town, little lone try to open multiple centers in communities that already have
public-lands focused visitor centers. Yes, many people visit Bears Ears from points north, but many
come from the south and east as well. And even those coming from the north often come through
Bluff to visit Comb Ridge, Valley of the Gods, the San Juan River and even Cedar Mesa. We also
needed offices for our organizational operations, which only made sense to co-locate with the
Center, and a supporter of ours gave us a great deal on the building. So really, there was never any
consideration for locating the Center somewhere other than Bluff.

Given all this, I've asked our staff to talk with all our volunteers and re-iterate our commitment to
respectful, factual information dispersal at the Education Center, regardless of the visitor's own
biases and viewpoints.

I've also asked staff to see if they can find out which volunteer may have talked with you and find out
his/her side of the story. It's clear from your blog post that you have a strong bias in your viewpoint
(your 1st Amendment right, of course) and make a number of incorrect assertions (I wish you tried a
bit harder to fact check yourself). Given this, I don't assume you have told the entire story about your
conversation or its context. Not knowing you from Adam, I have to give our volunteers some benefit
of the doubt, given that I know they are generally wonderful people who donate thousands of hours
to protecting public lands in southeastern Utah every year.

Should your version of the story turn out to be true, I will be very disappointed indeed. But we will
this situation as a learning opportunity for all of our staff and volunteers. FCM strives to be a leader
in civil, respectful, fact-based conversation, and we urge everyone to avoid making stereotype-based
comments that add fuel to San Juan County's already tense public conversation.

I apologize that the requested comment is lengthy. But I hope you will do your best to include as
much of it in your piece as you can. It's always frustrating to me when stories on difficult topics overly
paraphrase and don't quote the involved parties fully.

Sincerely,

Josh Ewing
Executive Director

_____________________

September 10, 2019


From Bill Keshlear to Josh Ewing
Hi Josh,

Thanks again for your detailed response to my conversation with one of your volunteers. The draft
I've prepared for publication by the Zephyr includes your comments in their entirety. Of course, it
would up to the editor to publish or not.

Regarding: "It's clear from your blog post that you have a strong bias in your viewpoint (your 1st
Amendment right, of course) and make a number of incorrect assertions (I wish you tried a bit harder
to fact check yourself). Given this, I don't assume you have told the entire story about your
conversation or its context. Not knowing you from Adam, I have to give our volunteers some benefit
of the doubt, given that I know they are generally wonderful people who donate thousands of hours
to protecting public lands in southeastern Utah every year."

I have a pretty clear idea which post you are referring to. But to be sure, was it this one? What
incorrect assertions do you believe I made? Please include supporting documentation. If you choose
to respond to this, please clarify whether you'll be speaking on behalf of Friends or more broadly
Gavin Noyes and Mark and Kenneth Maryboy since they're mentioned in the blog. Will you be
speaking more generically as one of the on-the-ground leaders in the national alliance to create and
now litigate Obama's version or the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition's larger version of a national
monument?

Regarding: "Given this, I don't assume you have told the entire story about your conversation or its
context."

I'd be happy to add to the story but it would require more depth than I'm prepared to write for this
article. The primary focus of the Zephyr report will not be on Friends. Possibly a blog entry at a later
date would be better or a Q&A-style report for December's Zephyr. I'll be in San Juan County next
month. I'd enjoy sitting down with some of your volunteers for a taped (video and audio) on-the-
record interview to talk about what they tell visitors.

The context was simple: I wanted to find out what information people get when they just walk in off
the street. Is it factually correct? Consistent with "official" stuff Friends and other pro-monument
advocates? Does it align with information from other visitor's centers? Is the information presented
as one viewpoint among many on how to preserve sacred archeological artifacts and unique
geological formations?
Since your critical comments of the post (and me personally) likely will be published verbatim and
unedited, Zephyr readers might want to read the post. In my draft, I'll insert a link to the post in San
Juan's Monumental Divide.

Cheers,
Bill

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September 11, 2019


From Josh Ewing to Bill Keshlear

Bill: I appreciate your willingness to include my full response. I don't feel you need to include it all,
particularly the part where I was trying help you understand why I might, not knowing you, have to at
least "trust but verify" what you're saying happened at the Education Center. The Center is closed
Tuesday and Wednesday, so staff who work with the volunteers have not yet been able to talk with
whoever it was you spoke with.

I do subscribe to the philosophy of avoiding arguments with folks who buy ink by the barrel (or more
appropriately in this age, don't buy ink but have unlimited ability to publish on the internet). So I don't
intend to get into a debate with you about your writing. You have a right to your opinion and
viewpoint. I happen to disagree with some of the factual assertions you make in the blog post you
linked above.

In the hopes it might be helpful for understanding where someone with a different viewpoint from
yours comes from, I'll give you two examples from your blog post that caught my attention right
away.

 You called the threat of oil and gas development a "fiction." That's a strong statement - for
which you provide no supporting evidence - that implies that you believe folks like me with
concerns about drilling are making things up for ulterior motives. I could write pages and
pages to refute that one statement. The fact that there have been 3 competitive lease sales
in the last 18 months in SE Utah, the fact that EOG Resources has made two applications to
drill within the Bears Ears boundaries proposed by the Inter-Tribal Coalition, the fact that
there's a long history of companies nominating parcels for leasing within the Monument
boundaries, the fact that SITLA has an incentive contract with EOG to drill just two miles
north of Bluff and a couple of hundred yards outside of the Obama monument boundary, the
fact that the DOE recently gave the UofU an $8 million grant to help companies drill the
Paradox (the formation under eastern Bears Ears), the fact that SITLA officials urged the
shrinking of the Monument to cut out the Bluff Bench to resolve known oil/gas conflicts, the
fact that the State of Utah still has on the books an "energy zone" for significant portions of
BENM....I could go on. Now, if you want to say it's your opinion that oil and gas will never be
developed in the Monument boundaries, you're welcome to your opinion. But to insinuate
that folks who live and work in Bluff have no reason to be worried, that we're drumming up
fictional fears for ulterior motives, I'd suggest that's far from showing respect for varying
viewpoints.
 While I do agree with your conclusion that "good-faith effort of those local residents was in
effect sandbagged by powerful forces outside of San Juan County," you overstate the extent
that the Public Lands Council recommendations were near to the eventual Obama
boundaries. While there are certainly similarities for some key areas (e.g. Cedar Mesa and
Indian Creek), they are far from "identical" as you state. See attached map showing the
Obama boundary vs the SJCo Lands Council final recommendations. Now, if you were to
say that the Obama Monument boundaries were fairly close to the NCA proposed in the
Public Lands Initiative legislation, then that would be closer to accurate. But you seem to
suggest that if Obama had just sat on the sidelines, SJCo leaders would have pushed
through protections for large portions of Bears Ears. That's a huge stretch.

I'm sorry if I offended you by questioning any of your writing. I know I'm far from perfect in my writing
and people surely disagree with my conclusions. But given the above, I think maybe you can
understand why I might be just a bit cautious about your approach to covering these complex
issues.

Sincerely,

Josh Ewing
Executive Director
(c) 801.410.0773
567 W. Main Street, PO Box 338 | Bluff, UT 84512
________________

September 11, 2019


Bill Keshlear’s response

Ewing: “You called the threat of oil and gas development a ‘fiction.’ That's a strong statement - for
which you provide no supporting evidence - that implies that you believe folks like me with concerns
about drilling are making things up for ulterior motives.”

Keshlear: “I expected she’d (a volunteer at Friends of Cedar Mesa’s Education Center) trot out
standard pro-monument talking points about imminent oil and gas development and other fictions.
And she did. Friends after all is an environmental activist group.”

I used the word “imminent” in the blog. In his response, Ewing seemed to overlook that modifier, and
he chose to broaden the discussion to a world of possibilities to include areas even beyond the
borders of President Obama’s version of Bears Ears National Monument. He talks about three
controversial lease sales conducted by the Bureau of Land Management during the first three
quarters of 2019, the most recent was September 9. They’re all on the east side of the county in
established oil fields. But there are concentrations of archeological artifacts in the area that could be
threatened by drilling.

I wrote about it in my blog, San Juan’s Monumental Divide:

What about protection of archeological artifacts?

“BLM response in its environmental assessment (EA, page 17): The Cultural Resources and
Tribal Consultation Stipulation is applied across all lease parcels.

“This stipulation states that the lease area may be found to contain historic properties and/or
resources protected under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), American Indian
Religious Freedom Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Executive
Order 13007, or other statutes and executive orders.

“The BLM will not approve any ground-disturbing activities that may affect any such
properties or resources until it completes its obligations (e.g., State Historic Preservation
Officer (SHPO) and tribal consultation) under applicable requirements of the NHPA (National
Historic Preservation Act) and other authorities.

“The BLM may require modification to exploration or development proposals to protect such
properties, or disapprove any activity that is likely to result in adverse effects that cannot be
successfully avoided, minimized, or mitigated. Moreover, prior to granting APDs on Federal
surface or split-estate lands, cultural resource inventories are required.”

Despite the angst of environmentalists such as Ewing, we're only talking about four wells. "For the
analysis of the 19 nominated parcels encompassing 32,067.42 acres, the MtFO (Monticello Field
Office) estimated maximum of four wells would be drilled. ... Over the last three years, six wells have
been drilled in San Juan County. Out of those six wells, only one well was capable of production.
Statistically, it is more probable that three wells would be drilled for the nominated parcels." (EA,
page 20)

The online lease sale in September was just one step in a process that may or may not result in
more oil and gas drilling on the east side of the county. Somebody has to bid on the parcels, win,
then begin an enormously complicated and expensive process to file an Application for Permit to
Drill, or APD. Then the APD would have to be approved. Then likely litigated. Actual drilling, possibly
years down the road, would be dependent upon market conditions at the time oil or gas surfaces.
The financial risks are enormous.

Fact is there is very little energy potential within the national monument, according to Utah’s
Department of Natural Resources, but it’s a primary talking point among pro-monument advocates.

Ewing: “Now, if you want to say it's your opinion that oil and gas will never be developed in the
Monument boundaries, you're welcome to your opinion.”

Keshlear: In a blog that was 1,935 words long, I never said “oil and gas will never be developed.” I
mentioned oil and gas development only once, in a 17-word sentence. The blog was about the
failure of the Utah Dine Bikeyah’s executive director to address racism and religious bigotry among
members of his board of directors. And how that raises questions about whether going forward his
organization can legitimately play the role of a bridge-builder.
Ewing: “While I do agree with your conclusion that "good-faith effort of those local residents was in
effect sandbagged by powerful forces outside of San Juan County," you overstate the extent that the
Public Lands Council recommendations were near to the eventual Obama boundaries.

Keshlear: “ ‘The proclamation Obama signed was, as mentioned above, actually very close to what
that group of San Juan residents, the Lands Council, came up with through a lengthy public process,
according to former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's chief of staff Tommy Beaudreau. We tried to
hew to the PLI (Lands Council’s) proposal. We couldn’t argue with a straight face that there wasn’t
consensus about the area,’ Beaudreau said. The quote comes at 58:20 in a video of a panel
discussion held last year at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.”

Again, Ewing leaves out an important modifier. He overlooks “very close.”

Ewing was a panelist at the Johns Hopkins discussion. He does not appear to have disputed
Beaudreau’s characterization.

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Ewing did not respond to my suggestion sit down with volunteers for a taped (video and audio) on-
the-record interview to talk about what they tell visitors to Friends’ Education Center.