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On Wednesday, the state of Utah and several of its officials, including Governor Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, sued the Biden administration in federal court over the president’s executive action last year to restore two national monuments that were formerly reduced by President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit, filed against Biden and other members of his administration including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), argues that the size of the two national monuments, totaling a combined 3.2 million acres, violates a law that limits U.S. presidents to create monuments “confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

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“The vast size of the expanded Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments draws unmanageable visitation levels to these lands without providing any of the tools necessary to adequately conserve and protect these resources,” Gov. Cox wrote in a statement.

The sites were set to be co-managed in a historic cooperative agreement the Biden administration signed in June with five tribes who were original stewards of the land.

In 2017, The Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to protect Bears Ears National Monument, an area they consider to be sacred.


Biden signed legislation on Oct. 8, 2021, that restored the original boundaries of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument.

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About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Writer
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the publication's lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.