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2 more lawsuits filed over Trump order breaking up Bears Ears National Monument

2 more lawsuits filed over Trump order breaking up Bears Ears National Monument

(Scott G. Winterton, KSL)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Two more coalitions made up of conservation groups, Native American organizations and an outdoor retailer have sued President Donald Trump over his dismantling of Bears Ears National Monument.

Patagonia Works and Utah Diné Bikéyah are among eight groups that banded together in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington, D.C. They contend the president’s proclamation is contrary to law, ignores overwhelming public support for the original monument designation and dishonors Native American heritage and culture.

"The administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history," Patagonia CEO and President Rose Marcario said in a statement. "We’ve fought to protect these places since we were founded, and now we’ll continue that fight in the courts."

The Trump administration argues that Republican and Democratic presidents, including John F. Kennedy, have reduced monuments at least 18 times. Kennedy was the last president to do so under the Antiquities Act, taking away and adding land to Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico in 1963.

Other plaintiffs are Friends of Cedar Mesa, Archaeology Southwest, Conservation Lands Foundation, Access Fund, the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

San Fransisco-based Earthjustice, representing nine environmental groups, sued Trump over Bears Ears in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. It also filed a lawsuit against the president's action on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument earlier this week.

"We stand with Native American tribes to defend Bears Ears National Monument from this outrageous attack," Heidi McIntosh, managing attorney in Earthjustice's Rocky Mountain office, said in a statement.


The groups argue that monument proclamations carry the force of law and can't be reversed by later presidents because the authority comes from Congress under the Antiquities Act.

The Wilderness Society, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Defenders of Wildlife, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance are plaintiffs in that case.

Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and other federal officials now face at least five lawsuits over the president's order breaking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante into five smaller national monuments. All were filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Five tribes with traditional ties to Bears Ears — Navajo, Ute, Utah Mountain Ute, Hopi and Zuni — sued them earlier this week.

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