Press Release

NRDC, Partners Sue Trump to Block Revocation of Bears Ears Monument

Anne Hawke
ahawke@nrdc.org, (646) 823-4518

WASHINGTON  – The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance—together with Earthjustice on behalf of nine other groups—today filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from revoking Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument.

The groups filed the complaint in federal court here, claiming that President Trump exceeded his authority under the Constitution and violated the 1906 Antiquities Act.

The following is a statement by Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“President Trump grossly exceeded his authority in this shameful attempt to hand over sacred lands to polluters and private commercial interests. 

“His order is not just illegal, but a serious affront to every American who values our country’s natural heritage.  This landscape, with its petroglyphs, stone villages and sheer natural splendor, has been the homeland to indigenous peoples for thousands of years.

“We look forward to fighting in court to forever preserve these historical, natural and cultural treasures that are held in trust for future generations.”

BACKGROUND

President Trump issued a proclamation Monday aimed at stripping protections from more than 1 million acres of the Utah monument, which would leave them vulnerable to fossil fuel extraction, mining and other threats.  His order would replace Bears Ears National Monument with 2 new fragments—and even those lands would lack protection from destructive action such as road-building and grazing.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke conducted a “review” of some two dozen land and marine monuments in which nearly 3 million Americans asked the Trump administration to protect—and not roll back—these designations.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

To read about a lawsuit filed Monday by five tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, click here.

To speak with representatives of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, please contact:

  • For the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute:
    • Natalie Landreth, (907) 360-3423, Native American Rights Fund
    • Matt Campbell, (303) 880-5492, Native American Rights Fund  
  • For the Navajo Nation:
    • Ethel Branch, Attorney General, 928-871-6345/6205 ebranch@nndoj.org
    • Kathrine Belzowski, (734) 646-2050, NN Attorney General’s Office
  • For the Ute Indian Tribe:
    • Rollie Wilson, (202) 340-8232

       

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​

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