SUWA Statement on the Utah Federal District Court’s Dismissal of Lawsuits Challenging Restored Utah National Monuments — 8.11.23
August 11, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Steve Bloch, Legal Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (801) 428-3981and (801) 859-1552 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Grant Stevens, Communications Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (319) 427-0260 (email@example.com)
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, the Utah Federal District Court dismissed with prejudice the 2022 lawsuits brought by the State of Utah, Blue Ribbon Coalition, and others challenging President Biden’s use of the Antiquities Act to restore the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in October 2021. Below is a statement from SUWA Legal Director Steve Bloch.
“Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are two of the most significant, intact, and extraordinary public landscapes in America – landscapes that will remain protected after today’s dismissal of these lawsuits. We are thrilled with today’s decision, which aligns with more than 100 years of similar court rulings that have rejected every challenge to Presidential authority under the Antiquities Act to protect cultural, scientific, ecological, and paleontological resources on public lands.”
SUWA and a coalition of conservation organizations intervened in these lawsuits on behalf of the United States to defend the Monuments. Five sovereign Tribal Nations also intervened on behalf of the United States to defend the Bears Ears National Monument.
Update: Following news on Aug. 14, 2023, that the State of Utah had filed to appeal the case, Steve Bloch issued the following statement:
“We’re disappointed but not surprised by Utah’s appeal. The Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are some of the nation’s most treasured public lands that contain irreplaceable cultural and fossil resources, as well as unique geology and biology. It’s baffling that the State of Utah is working to undo the protections needed to safeguard these places. SUWA’s work will now move to the federal court of appeals where we’ll argue that the President acted well within his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish these monuments.”