New monuments keep feds busy

Lawsuits will determine the fate of Bears Ears National Monument, but the BLM is moving forward quickly with new management plans.
Big Man Panel, in the monument formerly known as Bears Ears.

The Trump administration’s monument reductions are likely to fail, conservationists say, but that hasn’t stopped the feds from moving forward with new management plans.

The reductions came late last year, when the administration announced it would shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante, created during the Clinton administration, and the newly created Bears Ears National Monument.

Conservationists, tribes and even archaeologists sued – within days, five separate suits had been filed. With more than a century of legal precedent behind them, there is a good chance they prevail.

A federal judge has consolidated the suits, and it will probably be quite some time before the public learns the outcome.

In the meantime, the Bureau of Land Management is creating new plans for managing the reduced monuments, High Country News reports.

“Conservationists say they are concerned about a rush to create new plans before the courts weigh in on the boundaries,” HCN reported.

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