RELEASE: BlueRibbon Coalition Sues to Overturn Biden Monument Designations (1 Viewer)

May 8, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against President Biden’s unlawful designation of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalanted National Monuments. BRC is joined by a rancher, a miner, and a member of Utah’s Native American community — all of whom will see their lives upended if these “monuments” are allowed to stand. BRC Executive Director, Ben Burr, made the following statement:

“These proclamations make a mockery of the Antiquities Act. They take a carefully limited law enacted in 1906 and — to quote from a recent opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts — ‘transform it into a power without any discernible limit to set aside vast and amorphous expanses of terrain above and below sea.’

“President Biden’s abuse of power will have — and is now having — profound practical consequences for the people in our community. In its simplest form, a ‘national monument’ designation means lands that were once open for multiple uses for public benefit are now shut off to the public to accommodate the narrow interests of politically connected stakeholders.

“Unless the courts step in, these threats will soon be irreversible — not just to us, but to the rule of law. President Biden’s proclamations are the latest in a long line of attempted executive power grabs that take old or vague statutes and try to resolve major policy issues without broad support from the American people as expressed through their elected members of Congress.

“The Supreme Court significantly tightened the reins on these abuses in the West Virginia v. EPA decision. It is time for the Supreme Court to rein in presidential abuse of the Antiquities Act.”

At the heart of the lawsuit is the claim that these expansive monument designations violate the limited powers of the Antiquities Act, which requires presidents to limit the size of designations to the “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” BRC’s lawsuit was filed one day after the State of Utah filed a similar challenge, and BRC’s challenge emphasizes the everyday impacts these unlawful monuments create for those who have traditionally utilized the lands within the monument boundaries.

Read the Full Complaint:

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Oct 12, 2004
Designation of these National Monuments doesn't affect my use/appreciation of the PUBLIC LAND involved.


95 Landcruiser, 200k miles, slowly baselining
Aug 28, 2017
Another perspective on this.....

"These National Monuments are especially important to those who care about the health of the Colorado River ecosystem. They contain much of the Glen Canyon watershed, so the air and water quality, wildlife habitats, scenery, and wilderness of these lands are critical to the integrity of Glen Canyon itself. Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are essential to keeping these values intact.

In December 2017, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation reducing Bears Ears National Monument by 85%, and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50%. This unprecedented and likely illegal action by the president was made with the clear intent of opening up the region to increased coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium extraction. These two national monuments, in their full, original size encompassing 3,232,310 acres, are crucial to the protection of the access, ecology, and watershed of Glen Canyon and the Colorado River. Shrinking and opening these monuments to exploitation is an attack on the integrity of the Greater Glen Canyon ecosystem"

Nov 18, 2019
Albuquerque NM
These massive monuments are absolutely going to impact motorized travel by closing routes.

Natural Bridges National Monument (in the same area), created in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt is 7,600 acres. I consider this a responsible use of the Antiquities Act. Bears Ears National Monument now completely engulfs Natural Bridges National Monument and is 1.36 million acres, nearly 179,000 times bigger than Natural Bridges! For more perspective, Bears Ears National Monument is 4 times bigger than Canyonlands, the largest national park in Utah! I lived in Utah for several years, and still visit every year and love the Bears Ears area.

I agree with this quote from the BRC:
  • All federally-managed lands outside the existing monument boundaries are more than adequately protected by numerous resource protection statutes and regulations, and in some cases the relentless PR and marketing campaigns to booster support for the monuments have led to a surge in resource degradations from increased visitation levels.
  • Archeological resources outside the existing monument boundaries are protected under the Archeological Resources Protection Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. These acts protect the region’s antiquities far more effectively than national monument designation under the Antiquities Act, whose provisions were found unconstitutionally vague, making them unenforceable.
  • The Antiquities Act constrains the president to designating national monument size limited to the smallest area compatible with the care and management of the objects to be protected. Both the BENM and the GSENM were originally designated with areas far in excess of the statutorily limited area contemplated by the Act.
  • A president’s designation of a federally-managed area as a national monument leads to myriad restrictions on public use as a result of the purely discretionary action of a single government official, with little recourse to the individual citizen or the local communities that suffer the inevitable economic and social losses. Monument designations are bad policy that result in bad government.
  • Although the exercise of valid existing rights, including livestock grazing are expressly authorized, recreation, recreational access, and access to inholdings and other valid existing interests are only implied, not expressly authorized.
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