S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor John Ruple commented on the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument in the December 28, 2016 edition of National Geographic.
The fate of Bears Ears now rests with President-elect Trump and the incoming Congress. No previous president has tried to terminate a national monument, and according to legal scholars, the president appears to lack the authority needed to unilaterally do so. Congress could rescind a national monument designation, said University of Utah law professor John Ruple, but many senators and representatives might be reluctant to be seen as undoing protections for majestic landscapes.
Ruple says that Congress could simply withhold funds for the management of the monument, thereby undermining its protection. And Trump, once he becomes president, might attempt to reduce the size of the monument or eliminate some protections—a move that “would almost certainly invite litigation,” Ruple said.