On July 26th the Bureau of Land Management released the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed Monument Management Plans (MMPs) for Bears Ears National Monument. This document is 800 pages in length, and while we have yet to read the full document, the AAC believes that the shrinking of the Monument was an illegal move made by the administration. We believe the BLM should work to protect and conserve the whole monument that was protected in 2016. A management plan should not have been completed prior to the court ruling of the lawsuits that are currently in the federal courts system.
The NRDC, one of the organizations who chose to sue alongside the Hopi and Utah Diné Bikéyah tribes has written a brief update of the EIS information here. Several other tribes and environmental groups have also filed suit against the Trump Administration, many of them claiming that the reduction in the monument size was an abuse of Presidential power and an illegal application of the Antiquities Act of 1906.
Access Fund also agrees that the management plan “fails climbers”. In their latest update, AF announced that they are “evaluating options to appeal the BLM’s flawed plan to the Department of Interior” in the name of appropriate management for not only world class climbing areas, but also the cultural, scientific, and natural resources of the landscape. You can read the comments written by Access Fund, Friends of Indian Creek, and Salk Lake Climbers Alliance on the draft management plan here.
You may recall that the AAC, in conjunction with our partners at the Outdoor Alliance, submitted an Amicus Brief on the case last year. You can review our comments to the court here. You can also read the AAC’s stance on the fight for Bears Ears National Monument here, and be sure to keep following the policy blog for future updates and action alerts as they arise.