SALT LAKE CITY  – Today, the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against President Biden’s unlawful designation of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. BRC is joined by a rancher, a miner, and a member of Utah’s Native American community — all of whom will see their lives upended if these “monuments” are allowed to stand. BRC Executive Director, Ben Burr, made the following statement: 

“These proclamations make a mockery of the Antiquities Act. They take a carefully limited law enacted in 1906 and — to quote from a recent opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts — ‘transform it into a power without any discernible limit to set aside vast and amorphous expanses of terrain above and below sea.’ 

“President Biden’s abuse of power will have — and is now having — profound practical consequences for the people in our community. In its simplest form, a ‘national monument’ designation means lands that were once open for multiple uses for public benefit are now shut off to the public to accommodate the narrow interests of politically connected stakeholders.

“Unless the courts step in, these threats will soon be irreversible — not just to us, but to the rule of law. President Biden’s proclamations are the latest in a long line of attempted executive power grabs that take old or vague statutes and try to resolve major policy issues without broad support from the American people as expressed through their elected members of Congress. 

“The Supreme Court significantly tightened the reins on these abuses in the West Virginia v. EPA decision. It is time for the Supreme Court to rein in presidential abuse of the Antiquities Act.”

At the heart of the lawsuit is the claim that these expansive monument designations violate the limited powers of the Antiquities Act, which requires presidents to limit the size of designations to the “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” BRC’s lawsuit was filed one day after the State of Utah filed a similar challenge, and BRC’s challenge emphasizes the everyday impacts these unlawful monuments create for those who have traditionally utilized the lands within the monument boundaries. 

Read the Full Complaint: