It won’t surprise you to know that the Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) isn’t keen on listening to supporters of the original Bears Ears National Monument. But the BLM’s April announcement of who would actually serve on the Bears Ears Monument Advisory Committee (MAC) was a middle finger to even the pretense of creating “a fair and balanced representation of interested stakeholders,” as the original monument proclamation called for. Of the 11 individuals appointed to the committee, not one was a supporter of the original monument—and none of the appointees were recommended by tribes.

Davis Filfred, board chairman for Utah Diné Bikéyah and a former Navajo Nation Councilman, summed it up well. “This advisory committee lacks Native wisdom, lacks support from sovereign tribes, and fails to reflect the local community that most depends on protection of these lands,” he said.

Nonetheless, Trump’s little claque of monument-haters held its first meeting in Monticello in early June to extend its black blessing to the agency’s Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for management of the Trump-reduced monument.

The Committee began by endorsing different parts of the multiple-use “Alternative D.” Then, as can happen when you try to cram too much destructive advice into too short a meeting, the group ran out of time to finish reviewing the proposals. It simply recommended that the pro-conservation “Alternatives B & C” not be adopted.

Behold: a rubber stamp for mismanagement of what remains of Bears Ears.

—Mathew Gross

(From Redrock Wilderness newsletter, summer 2019 issue)