Biden killed a Trump order, which opened the area for use by American businesses.
Back in October of 2021, Biden made a petty move to rescind President Donald Trump’s order that portions of two sprawling national monuments in Utah be opened for mining and other development.
Utah officials, led by Attorney General Sean Reyes, have now filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration. They are suing to shed more than an two million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments that Biden gratuitously restored.
The suit asks the court to declare the monuments’ restoration unlawful and seeks an injunction blocking the Biden administration from implementing the president’s order reversing their reductions at the hands of President Donald Trump, Biden’s Republican predecessor.
Kane and Garfield counties, home to the Grand Staircase, are named co-plaintiffs in the suit, while San Juan is conspicuously absent. Although many San Juan residents opposed Bear Ears’ designation, the County Commission, now with a Navajo majority, has formally endorsed the monument’s restoration.
The Interior Department is currently developing new management plans for both monuments. It declined to comment on the suit.
Now in private practice, former Utah Solicitor General Tyler Green prepared the Utah suit with Consovoy McCarthy, the politically connected D.C.-based firm Reyes hired to conduct the monument litigation.
The designation has also posed challenges to area management, in terms of controlling visitation of such a vast region.
The monuments, which together are nearly the size of Connecticut, contain canyons surrounded by pink ribbons of limestone, dramatic red rock mesas and buttes, juniper forests and Native American artifacts including ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
In a Wednesday joint statement in support of the lawsuit, Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah’s entire congressional delegation accused the federal government of not properly managing the land and blamed the expanded monuments for “unmanageable visitation levels.”
“We now challenge this repeated, abusive federal overreach to ensure that our public lands are adequately protected and that smart stewardship remains with the people closest to the land,” said the group, whose signatories included U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee.
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