On December 4, 2017, President Donald J. Trump carved more than 2 million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. He also directed federal land managers to prepare management plans for both monuments. Draft plans have been released, and the preferred alternative under both plans promotes right-of-way development, minerals exploration, livestock grazing, and other traditional uses over protection of monument resources. Our paper argues that this approach violates both the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009 because these statutes require the Bureau of Land Management to emphasize protection of monument resources over more impactive uses. We also argue that the Bureau of Land Management violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it failed to account for its statutory obligations to protect monument resources in the environmental baseline contained in the environmental impact statements for the management plans.
Ruple, J., Tanana, H., Beyond the Antiquities Act: Can the BLM Reconcile Energy Dominance and National Monument Protection?, 34:3 Natural Res. & Env’t 8 (2020)