Trump administration loses bid to dismiss monument lawsuits
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s bid to dismiss lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a 2017 decision to downsize two sprawling national monuments in Utah.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s written decisions issued late Monday night means the legal challenges seeking to return the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original sizes can move forward.
Chutkan didn’t decide the key question at the core of the lawsuits: Does the Antiquities Act give presidents the power to create monuments as well as reduce them?
The government has already created new management plans for the downsized monuments. Trump downsized Bears Ears by 85% and Grand Staircase by nearly half.
The lawsuits were filed by environmental organizations, tribal coalitions, an outdoor recreation company and a paleontology organization.