Judge dismisses Utah lawsuit against national monuments

Aug 14, 2023

On Friday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from Utah politicians who challenged President Joe Biden’s restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante national monuments. Judge David Nuffer ruled, consistent with numerous prior cases, that since Congress granted the president the authority to designate national monuments on national public lands, “Congress knows how to restrict statutory presidential power.”

Both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were designated as national monuments under the Antiquities Act: President Barack Obama designated Bears Ears in 2016 and President Bill Clinton designated Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996. In 2017, President Donald Trump attempted to shrink them, but President Biden restored them to their original boundaries during his first year in office. The lawsuit contended that the Antiquities Act doesn’t grant the power to protect expansive landscapes, despite its use for this purpose multiple times since Theodore Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon as a national monument in 1908.

“The president and Congress both know that national monuments are popular and vital to America’s future,” said Aaron Weiss, Deputy Director of the Center for Western Priorities. “That’s why the Antiquities Act is still important today, more than a century after Teddy Roosevelt first used it. It’s time for Utah politicians to stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on pointless lawsuits that they know will keep getting dismissed.”

Coalition seeks permanent protections for Caja del Rio

Members of the Caja del Rio Coalition gathered at an event to discuss the importance of establishing permanent protections for Caja del Rio, a 106,000 acre area situated between the Rio Grande and Santa Fe rivers in New Mexico. This area is considered sacred to many Pueblo people and acts as an important wildlife corridor, providing habitat for many species of reptiles, birds, and mammals. The protections sought by the coalition would safeguard the area from mining, new roads, transmission lines, dumping, shooting, and vandalism of sacred sites. View the Center for Western Priorities’ short film featuring some of the leaders behind the effort to protect Caja del Rio.

Quick hits

Federal judge tosses Utah lawsuit seeking to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments

Salt Lake Tribune | KSL | Deseret News | Associated Press | Arizona Public Radio | Fox 13 | Courthouse News Service | National Parks Traveler | St. George News | Center for Western Priorities [press release]

Multibillion-dollar Uinta Basin Railway chugs along amid environment and derailment concerns

Associated Press

Coalition seeks permanent protections for Caja del Rio

Santa Fe New Mexican

The clean energy future is arriving faster than you think

New York Times

Tracy Stone-Manning: How the BLM is ensuring the health of our public lands

Salt Lake Tribune

Renowned Colorado nature photographer John Fielder dies after battle with cancer

Colorado Sun | 9News | Westword | CPR News

Conservation and development: Nevada’s unique public lands process draws renewed attention

Nevada Independent

40 million people share the shrinking Colorado River. Here’s how that water gets divvied up

Colorado Sun

Quote of the day

Our public lands work hard, having powered our nation with reliable and affordable energy for over a century. That’s going to continue, but the kind of energy we’re developing is shifting. President Biden and Secretary Haaland have been clear: We owe it to current and future generations to tackle the climate crisis, today. As we endure the hottest summer on record, this work takes on deeper urgency.”

—Tracy Stone-Manning, Bureau of Land Management Director, Salt Lake Tribune

Picture This

storm clouds in canyon


If you’re singing “you paint me a blue sky then go back and turn it to rain,” chances are you’re visiting Canyonlands in monsoon season!

A monsoon is a seasonal change in atmospheric circulation that causes intense weather conditions in summer months. From the months of July to September, monsoon season, like the subject of this song, is known for its red flags. To avoid singing, “I should’ve known,” follow these ranger tips to run as fast as you can from these red flags:

🚩 Flash Floods: Avoid hiking in washes or slot canyons during thunderstorms; if caught in a flash flood, avoid blindly walking and driving in water and get to higher elevation as soon as possible.

🚩 Lightning: If you hear thunder, lightning is likely nearby and can strike up to thirty miles from a storm, so try to move inside or seek lower elevation and get into the lightning position.

🚩 Severe Winds: Make sure to keep an eye on your belongings and surroundings, have a steady hand while driving, and keep a good center of gravity to avoid falls.

🚩 Temperature Fluctuations: Monsoon rain, and the occasional hailstorm, can cause the temperature to drop drastically, so carry extra layers and rainwear to stay dry and warm.

Remember it is always best to arrive prepared for monsoon season, so you aren’t stranded wondering what you would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, done instead.

#Canyonlands #Monsoon #MonsoonSeason #Safety

📷: NPS/Sophie Liddle