San Juan County Closed-Door Meetings with Interior Secretary Zinke and Others Violate Utah Open and Public Meetings Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2017

Contact:
Laura Peterson, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801.236.3762
Stephen Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801.428.3981

Last Friday afternoon, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance filed a lawsuit in Utah’s Third District Court alleging that San Juan County repeatedly violated Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act when county commissioners met with Interior Secretary Zinke, Interior Department officials and Members of Congress in closed-door meetings to discuss the fate of Bears Ears National Monument. In the lawsuit, SUWA asserts that on multiple occasions in May and June of this year, San Juan County commissioners met with Interior Secretary Zinke and other officials in both Utah and Washington, DC regarding the future of Bears Ears National Monument. The meetings were not publicly noticed and county commissioners did not allow members of the public to attend or participate in the meeting.

“The San Juan County Commission’s repeated closed-door meetings are blatant violations of Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act. County commissioners are required to conduct public business out in the open, not in secret,” said Laura Peterson, staff attorney for SUWA.

Last month, SUWA filed suit against Kane and Garfield Counties for similar violations of the Open and Public Meetings Act regarding the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

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