The motion asks the judge to rule that President Trump’s attempt to reduce Bears Ears is beyond the president’s authority. Pictographs at Bears Ears. This place was deserving of its national monument designation, just as park sites like the Grand Canyon and Muir Woods were, and remains so today. The court has therefore ordered the federal government to provide plaintiffs with timely notice before beginning a range of potentially harmful developments within these now-vulnerable lands. Categories: Religious Rights (Religious Freedom, Sacred Places, Repatriation). The Navajo Nation and four other American Indian tribes said Tuesday they had sued President Trump to undo his action reducing the Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. The move stripped legal protections from nearly two million acres of federal public lands that hold incomparable archaeological, paleontological, cultural, and natural significance. NARF continues to fight for the Native nations who have spent years working to protect their sacred, ancestral lands and the millions of people who declared their support for our national monuments. As all three lawsuits explain, President Trump has neither constitutional nor statutory authority to dismantle national monuments. Two days later, NRDC, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and a coalition of other environmental groups represented by Earthjustice followed with our own lawsuit. Bears Ears National Monument is a United States national monument located in San Juan County in southeastern Utah, established by President Barack Obama by presidential proclamation on December 28, 2016. Bears Ears also represents one of the most pristine, road-free areas in the contiguous United States, featuring a rugged labyrinth of sandstone canyons, cliffs and rock arches, meadows, and desert mesas. President Bill Clinton Grand Staircase-Escalante as a national monument in 1996 as a kind of research park for paleontology. “Bears Ears protects and connects the surrounding national park landscape that includes Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument and Canyonlands National Park. The issue here is simple: whether the President had the authority to do what he did. Recognizing that Bears Ears was exactly the kind of place for which the Antiquities Act was created, President Obama designated the Monument on December 28, 2016. Less than a year later, in an effort to free up lands for uranium mining and other extractive industries, President Trump purported to revoke the Monument and replace it with two smaller, non-contiguous monuments. On Thursday, January 9, 2020, the tribal plaintiffs in the lawsuit to protect the Bears Ears National Monument filed a motion for partial summary judgment. five Native American tribes filed a lawsuit, ordered the federal government to provide plaintiffs with timely notice, Trump Administration Officially Invites Polluters into Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, The Attack on Our National Monuments Just Got Real, We’re Suing Trump Over His Illegal Attempt to Destroy Our National Monuments, All National Monuments Designated Under the Antiquities Act, This Ancient Place Just Secured Membership in America’s Culture Club. State Disclosures. We will stand firm for justice. Rich in ancient and modern Native culture, and literally part of the homeland and history of the five Tribes in this case, it is known as Bears Ears National Monument. Lawsuits challenge Trump’s trim of Utah monuments ... McIntosh also represents many of the same groups in a parallel effort to block the downsizing of Bears Ears National Monument… Read more about NARF’s work to protect Bears Ears National Monument. In 2017, the Trump administration moved to reduce the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about half. In so doing, he acted well beyond the law and well beyond the Constitutional limits of his power.”. In January 2018, the district court consolidated all three lawsuits. We filed our amended complaints on November 7, 2019, and on January 9, 2020, we moved for summary judgment. In 2016, President Obama used the Antiquities Act to unilaterally create the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. … With this motion, the tribal plaintiffs simply ask the judge to acknowledge these facts and rule in favor of the first, second, and third claims in the tribal plaintiff’s amended complaint. © Natural Resources Defense Council 2020 Privacy Policy You'll receive your first NRDC action alert and update email soon. This is a pure issue of law. Several American Indian tribes are asking the courts to reverse the order that reduced Bears Ears National Monument in San Juan County by 85 percent. The monument's original size was 1,351,849 acres (2,112.264 sq mi; 5,470.74 km 2), which was controversially reduced 85% by President Donald Trump on December 4, 2017. Photo credit: Jonathan Bailey. The motion asks the judge to rule that President Trump’s attempt to reduce Bears Ears is beyond the president’s authority. The motion asks the judge to rule that President Trump’s attempt to reduce Bears Ears is beyond the president’s authority. Please take the time to learn how to protect the monument … The power of preserving this outstanding landscape is in your hands. The Tribes worked for years to gather evidence and make a case for the protection of this landscape teeming with historical objects and sites. Within hours of President Trump’s proclamation, five Native American tribes filed a lawsuit in federal court in D.C., challenging the president’s action as unlawful. In September 2018, the district court denied the federal defendants’ request to transfer the cases to the federal court in Utah. Bears Ears is the first national monument ever created at the request of a coalition of Indigenous tribes. The motion for summary judgment clearly lays out the issue at hand: For the first time in history, five federally recognized Tribes banded together to advocate for a national monument to protect, for all Americans and for all time, a place so wondrous it had drawn people to it for more than 13,000 years. Trump’s executive order was immediately challenged in lawsuits, still ongoing, which were filed on behalf of archaeologists, conservationists and tribes. It also reduced the size of Bears Ears by nearly 85%. On Thursday, January 9, 2020, the tribal plaintiffs in the lawsuit to protect the Bears Ears National Monument filed a motion for partial summary judgment. The Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth - its people, President Barack Obama had created the Bears Ears Monument a year earlier. When Bears Ears National Monument was initially created by President Barack Obama in December 2016 it encompassed nearly two million acres of public land. Several American Indian tribes are asking the courts to reverse the order that reduced Bears Ears National Monument in San Juan County by 85%. Civil Rights (Voting Rights, Juries, Census), Development of Indian Law (Legislative Actions), Education & Outreach (Publications, Online Resources, Speaking Engagements), Environmental Protection (Climate Change), Human Rights (Violence Against Women, Mascots, Boarding School Healing), Professional Training (Law Clerk Program). When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. (CN) Legal challenges to the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to downsize and develop on Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments will move forward, a judge has ruled, handing environmental and tribal groups their first victory in the case. Quite simply, the president is not authorized to revoke a national monument once it has been established. President Obama established the Monument in 2016 based on the tribes’ proposal, which NRDC and partners supported. During the 2020 campaign, Biden signaled he would do just that, while also prioritizing landscape conservation more broadly. “This illegal decimation of the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument opens up Navajo, Hopi, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni ancestral lands to development that could degrade wildlife habitat, threaten cultural sites and expose communities in southern Utah to unacceptable pollution and health risks,” Stone-Manning said. This is one of the most extensive archaeological areas on Earth. Pictographs at Bears Ears. He clearly did not. On December 4, 2017, President Trump signed proclamations dismantling two national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, both in southern Utah. We and our fellow plaintiffs opposed dismissal and eight groups of amici curiae—law professors, members of Congress, and others—filed amicus briefs in support. Yesterday evening, the coalition fighting to protect Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments cleared a milestone in the legal battle for the future of these public lands when the court deniedthe Trump administration’s motion to dismiss the case. Home / Religious Rights (Religious Freedom, Sacred Places, Repatriation) / Tribes File for Summary Judgment in Bears Ears Case, January 10, 2020 A third group of plaintiffs—including grassroots organization Utah Diné Bikéyah, outdoor retailer Patagonia, and others—also sued. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition developed a comprehensive plan to create a national monument that would protect 1.9 million acres of these sacred lands, commencing an impassioned campaign to get Congressional approval. In September 2019, the court denied the federal defendants’ motion to dismiss, while also directing us and our fellow plaintiff groups to file amended complaints with updated facts relating to our standing. Photo credit: Jonathan Bailey. To the Tribes, it is a living and vital place where ancestors passed from one world to the next, often leaving their mark in petroglyphs or painted handprints, and where modern day tribal members can still visit them. In Congress, Arizona representative Ruben Gallego and New Mexico rep Deb Haaland introduced the Bears Ears Expansion And Respect for Sovereignty Act (BEARS Act), which would bring the monument to the size originally petitioned for—600,000 acres larger, in fact, than the boundaries then-President Obama designated in 2016. It’s also a very important place to Native American tribes, including the Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, Hopi and Zuni, whose ancestors all lived off the land at one point. 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