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Conservation Groups Granted Intervention to Defend Utah National Monuments

Mar 20th, 2023 Written by suwa

Conservation Groups Granted Intervention to Defend Utah National Monuments

Tribes Granted Separate Motion to Intervene in December


Contact: Stephen Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801-428-3981, steve@suwa.org

Salt Lake City, Utah — A Utah federal judge has granted a motion to intervene filed by conservation groups in defense of the Biden administration’s restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. In 2022, the State of Utah sued in district court over President Biden’s decision to reinstate the monument boundaries after Trump shrank them without lawful authority.

Late last year, the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes’ motion to intervene was also granted.

Conservation groups issued the following statements in response to today’s news:

“Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are two of the crown jewels of America’s system of federal public lands,” said Stephen Bloch, legal director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “The irreplaceable geologic, cultural, and biological wonders of these national monuments should be preserved for current and future generations to study and appreciate. We’re grateful we now have a seat at the table to work and make sure that’s the case.”

“We are pleased that we will be able to join the legal proceedings in defense of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments,” said Heidi McIntosh, managing attorney for Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain Office. “Utah’s misguided lawsuit seeks to destroy the Antiquities Act with a flawed argument that presidents may only designate relatively small monuments that would be inadequate to protect many of the breathtaking features worthy of designation. Courts, including the Supreme Court, have consistently upheld the president’s authority to determine whether and how much area to protect, affirming the president’s ability to protect magnificent sites like the Grand Canyon, which was originally designated a national monument. We will use every legal tool available to defend the Antiquities Act and preserve our natural and cultural heritage for generations to come.”

The conservation groups that were granted intervention include: SUWA, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, Grand Canyon Trust, WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, and Great Old Broads for Wilderness. SUWA and Natural Resources Defense Council attorneys represent their organizations and Earthjustice attorneys represent the other conservation groups.