Environmental Politics, Think

Environews: Bears Ears Advisory Committee stacked with nay-sayers

June 6, 2019

Amy Brunvand

In yet another show of bad faith toward American Indian tribes, interior Secretary David Bernhardt (replacing the disgraced Ryan Zinke) has appointed a Monument Advisory Committee (MAC) for the reduced boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument that is composed entirely of people who opposed creation of the Monument.

Worse, only two slots on the 15-member committee represent American Indian tribes (five tribes have cultural ties to Bears Ears), and both were appointed from just one of the seven Navajo chapters in Utah.

Under president Trump, the original monument has been broken into two small remnants re-named Shash Jáa and Indian Creek units.

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition opposes the premature formation of an advisory committee since the courts have not yet decided whether Trump’s 2017 proclamation to downsize Bears Ears N.M. was legal.

Sally Jewel, who served as Interior secretary under president Obama, predicted in March that the tribes will win their lawsuit and the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument will be restored. The Bears Ears MAC is scheduled to meet on June 5-6.