5 Native American tribes file lawsuit to save Bears Ears

With President Donald Trump’s decision on Monday to remove over 2 million acres of land from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, three lawsuits have already been filed in response to the presidential proclamation.

According to The New York Times, one was filed on Monday in Washington D.C. by the Wilderness Society, Great Old Broads for Wilderness and eight other groups in defense of Grand Staircase-Escalante. A second suit also aims to defend Grand Staircase-Escalante, which was filed by paleontologists.

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And a third suit was filed Monday evening by five Native American tribes challenging the Bears Ears decision by President Trump. The Navajo Nation, the Hopi, the Ute Mountain Ute, the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation and the Zuni tribes all are in support of Bears Ears National Monument.

Their suit questions President Trump’s authority to modify or replace national monuments created by predecessors.

These five tribes were part of the coalition that for years pushed for the Bears Ears region to become federally protected, as these tribes consider the land sacred ground.

In a statement released in conjunction with the lawsuit on Monday evening, the tribes said:

“Through the Antiquities Act, Congress delegated to the president the limited authority to designate national monuments and retained to itself the power to revoke or modify national monuments. The proclamation signed by President Trump today is so extreme that it revokes and replaces Bears Ears and thereby violates the Antiquities Act and seizes authority that the Constitution vests solely in Congress.”

As many analysts suspected, this seems destined to play out in the courts. Patagonia had been very outspoken against the long-anticipated decision by the president for quite some time, and their dissenting voice is only growing louder. They are expected to file a lawsuit on Wednesday against the president, as founder Yvon Chouinard said as much in an interview with CNN.

Patagonia also released materials and information today that center around one message: “The President Stole Your Land.”

General Counsel for Patagonia Hilary Dessouky told GrindTV:

“The Administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history. We worked to establish Bears Ears National Monument and will now fight to protect it. On Wednesday, we will be filing a lawsuit challenging the president's revocation of Bears Ears National Monument.”

As we’ve said from the beginning of President Trump’s executive order to have Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke review 27 national monuments, it looks like this is all going to end up in the legal system for the conservation approach of this country to ultimately be decided by judges.

Stay tuned to GrindTV for more on this issue and it develops.

More about Bears Ears National Monument from GrindTV

What you need to know about the Bears Ears controversy

President Trump officially shrinks Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments

Patagonia, Native Americans, poised to sue Trump over Bears Ears