STATEMENT: President Biden needs to take immediate action to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

Jun 17, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

DENVER—The Center for Western Priorities today called on President Joe Biden to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to immediately restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to their proper legal boundaries. This follows a similar call to action from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, which continues to advocate for full protection of the 1.9 million acre Bears Ears landscape.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recommended that President Biden restore full protections to three national monuments that President Trump attempted to alter. While the legality of President Trump’s order is still being considered by the courts, President Biden does not need to wait in order to restore protections to these national monuments.

The Center for Western Priorities issued the following statement from Deputy Director Aaron Weiss:

“In his first week in office, President Biden said that ‘we best serve Native American people‚Ķ when Federal officials speak with and listen to Tribal leaders.’ We wholeheartedly agree. Secretary Haaland listened to Tribal leaders—now it’s the president’s duty to turn his words into action.

“Every day that President Biden delays is another day that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase remain at risk of new mining claims, which are still being filed this year. These landscapes cannot wait another day for protection.

“The Utah delegation is once again trying to stall by promising a ‘legislative solution’ that has never materialized. There is no serious legislative proposal to protect these sacred lands. Furthermore, using the Antiquities Act does not close the door to future congressional action if the Utah delegation decides to one day work with Tribes in good faith.”


  • Presidential memorandum on Tribal consultation and strengthening nation-to-nation relationships [White House]
  • New mining claims in the Bears Ears area put Indigenous communities at risk [Arizona Republic]
  • Energy developers and uranium miners eye land near Bears Ears National Monument [KUER]
  • No time to waste in restoring our national monuments [Westwise]
  • How national monuments can conserve our natural heritage and 30% of our lands and waters [Center for Western Priorities]