Utah will appeal the decision against its Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante lawsuit
As Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office put it, no time was wasted in giving notice that Utah will appeal the decision against its challenge to the restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
Republican state leaders are against President Joe Biden’s 2021 restoration of the two monuments after former President Donald Trump shaved them down in 2017. On Friday, U.S. District Judge David Nuffer dismissed the lawsuit Utah filed saying Biden acted within his authority under the Antiquities Act to create monuments “as he sees fit.”
One weekend later, Utah intends to take its case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Both Reyes and Gov. Spencer Cox had promised a quick appeal. On Friday, Cox predicted that the case “will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Utah’s interpretation of the Antiquities Act says the president’s authority is only to designate “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” To them, the Biden administration has an overly broad interpretation of the act.
Together, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante encompass more than 3.2 million acres. The tensions over the monuments stem from the state’s desire to open up parts of the land inside the monuments for development, mining and energy extraction. Native American tribes, on the other hand, consider the land sacred and want them protected.
The Associated Press contributed to this report