Lawsuits Against Trump’s Destruction of National Monument Are Allowed to Continue, a Federal Judge Rules

Environmentalists and Native American tribes are fighting back against Trump’s efforts to drastically reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument.

Bob Wick/Zuma

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

In 2017, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation that would reduce the size of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent. When environmental groups and five Native American tribes fought back in court, the Trump administration tried to dismiss the legal challenges they raised. But on Monday, a federal judge turned down Trump’s attempt to block the lawsuits, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, meaning that the battle to preserve the national monument will continue.

Bears Ears, a 3.5-million-acre stretch of canyons, buttes, and desert plateaus, is notable not only for its stunning geologic formations, but also for its Native American cultural, religious, and archaeological sites. Former president Barack Obama designated Bears Ears as a national monument in 2016, despite pushback from Republican lawmakers in Utah.

A year after Obama’s designation under the 1906 Antiquities Act, Trump made the unprecedented decision to cut the area of Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,876 acres, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. He also tried to cut the size of another Utah national monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, in half. The question at the heart of the current legal fight is whether Trump has the authority under the Antiquities Act to overturn his predecessor’s designation. In the meantime, in case it is ruled that he does, energy companies are hungrily eyeing the area’s oil and natural gas deposits.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate