Bears Ears court fight lives on

Judge denies Trump’s request for dismissal

Opponents of downsizing Bear Ears National Monument lived to fight another day Monday when U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan denied the Trump administration’s attempt to toss a legal challenge to its decision to shrink the southern Utah landmark, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.

The 2017 decision to shrink Bears Ears – from 1.35 million acres to slightly more than 201,000 – was met with fierce opposition from the start, but whether they have legal standing to contest the issue is something the judge has not yet ruled on. But she did say she would benefit from hearing additional arguments regarding that question.

The Tribune said the parties are next in court on Oct. 7. Plaintiffs believe the decision to reduce the size of the monument and the administration’s revised management plan for Bears Ears will lead to developers being unfairly favored. Supporters of the reduction believe former President Barack Obama wrongly expanded Bears Ears in 2016 without sufficient public comment and that Trump corrected that error, according to the Tribune story.