Published December 30, 2016
Vows to sue President Obama
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (Republican) says he will file a lawsuit after learning President Barack Obama has declared Bears Ears a national monument. Reyes condemned the president’s action. He says he is working closely with the Governor’s office, federal and state legislators, and San Juan County to file a lawsuit challenging this egregious overreach by the Obama Administration.
“It is extremely disappointing that President Obama has declared another national monument here in Utah, ignoring the voices of so many in our state, particularly those closest to the designated space. By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit,” Reyes said in a statement.
He continued in his statement:
“The Antiquities Act was passed to protect archaeological sites from pillage by treasure hunters with narrow, focused designations of thousands of acres or only what was absolutely necessary. It has turned into a tool for the Executive Branch to bypass proper Congressional authority, to designate millions of acres at a time and far beyond what is necessary to preserve sacred sites.
This case is different from other past challenges by states and counties and we are confident in our chances of success. But the courtroom is not our only option. Our federal delegation is working hard to defund the designation or rescind it altogether. Additionally, we look forward to working with the new Presidential Administration on ways to curtail or otherwise address the designation.
“Utah’s public lands deserve stewardship, but through the appropriate avenue of Congressional action with real participation of state, local and tribal leaders.”