Lawsuits Against Trump’s Destruction of National Monument Are Allowed to Continue, a Federal Judge Rules

Environmentalists and Native American tribes are fighting back against Trump’s efforts to drastically reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument.

Bob Wick/Zuma

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In 2017, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation that would reduce the size of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent. When environmental groups and five Native American tribes fought back in court, the Trump administration tried to dismiss the legal challenges they raised. But on Monday, a federal judge turned down Trump’s attempt to block the lawsuits, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, meaning that the battle to preserve the national monument will continue.

Bears Ears, a 3.5-million-acre stretch of canyons, buttes, and desert plateaus, is notable not only for its stunning geologic formations, but also for its Native American cultural, religious, and archaeological sites. Former president Barack Obama designated Bears Ears as a national monument in 2016, despite pushback from Republican lawmakers in Utah.

A year after Obama’s designation under the 1906 Antiquities Act, Trump made the unprecedented decision to cut the area of Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,876 acres, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. He also tried to cut the size of another Utah national monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, in half. The question at the heart of the current legal fight is whether Trump has the authority under the Antiquities Act to overturn his predecessor’s designation. In the meantime, in case it is ruled that he does, energy companies are hungrily eyeing the area’s oil and natural gas deposits.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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