October 29, 2018
The State of Utah is seeking to intervene in two lawsuits over the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante Monuments. That means we would become a co-defendant with the federal government. For a little light reading, you can read our Motion to Intervene on both lawsuits at the links below.
Bears Ears Motion to Intervene
Grand Staircase Escalante Motion to Intervene
In Utah, these cases matter. A lot. From the motions, linked above:
The State has substantial interests, including sovereign interests, in the management of millions of acres of public land within its borders. Management of this land has direct and indirect economic impacts on the State and its citizens and directly implicates property rights held in trust by the State to support schools. Disposition of this matter in favor of Plaintiffs would impede the State’s ability to protect these interests; such a disposition could deprive the State of revenue and jeopardize the full use of the property rights it holds for the benefit of all Utahns. Intervention is also necessary because the Federal Defendants are not capable of adequately representing the State’s unique interests.
You’ll remember that the AG’s Office opposed the original designation of the Bears Ears National Monument, then applauded the new administration’s modifications in size, scope, and management. When those modifications were challenged, we joined with Kane, San Juan, and Garfield Counties to support the Department of Justice’s request that these two cases be heard in Utah. Local issues should be heard locally. However, that petition was denied and the hearings will roll forward in D.C.
Now, Utah seeks to become a defendant in order to present the state’s unique and essential perspective on the restructuring of the monuments.
Stay tuned – and thanks for paying attention.