Utah Representative Mike Noel announces retirement while mired in controversy

Investigations of conflicts-of-interest, self-dealing and accusations of undue influence surround controversial anti-public lands lawmaker

Utah Representative Mike Noel announced his retirement from the state’s legislative body after new documents emerged showing that he potentially violated state law by not disclosing property holdings worth upwards of $1.2 million. Rep. Noel’s retirement also follows a complaint filed by the Western Values Project requesting a Department of Interior Inspector General investigation into his role in the reduction of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM).

“Rep. Noel’s retirement does not and should not end the ongoing investigations into his potential violations of state law. He must still be held accountable for his actions even if he is no longer willing to face the public as a legislator,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Value Project.

Noel pointing out coal seam to Zinke

On a hike, Noel pointed out an exposed coal seam to Zinke. [Modern Hiker]

Western Values Project released a detailed report of Rep. Noel’s land holdings listed under Noel Properties, LLC. that was not disclosed as required by Utah state law. Noel owns a 40-acre plot that was carved out of the national monument’s new boundary. Combined with his advocacy for the Lake Powell Pipeline, which would benefit his property, questions abound regarding Rep. Noel’s potential conflict of interest and undue influence into the monument’s reduction.

The report prompted a national watchdog group to request a Utah Attorney General investigation into Noel’s undisclosed conflicts of interest, as well as led Western Values Project to call for an Interior Inspector General investigation into his influence on the monuments review and reduction.

Also published on Medium.

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