Stegner Center Research Questions Whether National Monument Management Plans Follow Federal Law

RES GESTAE | Summer 2020

Research unveiled in February from the College of Law’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment questions whether the federal government followed the law in finalizing management plans for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Two years ago, President Donald Trump cut the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by roughly 50%, igniting a court battle over the future of these lands. The plans released on Feb. 6 reduce protection for important cultural, scientific, and natural resources on what remains of these two monuments.

John Ruple, a research professor, and Heather Tanana, a research professor`, authored “Beyond the Antiquities Act: Can the BLM Reconcile Energy Dominance and National Monument Protection?” in the newly released winter 2020 issue of the American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment publication.

“The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service are legally obligated to manage national monuments to protect the values that lead to monument designations. The plans released today decrease monument protections and put resources at risk. That’s hard to square with federal law. Lawsuits will surely follow, and that will hurt everyone: Tribes, local residents, visitors, and most of all the incredible resources that this landscape contains,” said Ruple.