Environews, Minis

Tribes, Dems say “stop illegal Monument planning”

By Amy Brunvand

The Trump administration is trying to ram through new management plans for Utah’s downsized national monuments before courts have weighed in on whether the president has authority to shrink or eliminate national monuments.

An October 1 letter sent by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) requests a halt to the planning process, which he calls  “a transparent attempt to rush forward an illegal disposition of public lands before the courts have ruled.”

In August the Utah Tribal Leaders Association also issued a resolution calling on BLM and the U.S. Forest Service to halt the planning process until the courts have decided upon the legality of the Trump Proclamation.

Lawsuits to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments have not yet gone to court. In September, environmentalists won a small victory when a federal judge refused to move pro-Monument lawsuits out of D.C. to the State of Utah, where anti-monument legislators expected to find anti-Monument judges. Since that tactic failed, the State of Utah has filed a request to join the lawsuits as a defendant against the American Indian tribes and citizens who are seeking to restore Utah’s national monuments. The request claims that the State has “sovereign interest” in generating revenue from federal public lands.

This article was originally published on November 5, 2018.