Bears Ears National Monument Defense
Memorandum of Understanding
Laird J. Lucas
National Monuments, National Conservation Lands SystemStates:
In February 2017, we entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) to provide legal advice and representation in defending National Monuments and other parts of the National Conservation Lands System (NCLS) in the face of threats from the Trump Administration. Senior Attorney Todd Tucci is leading this work, with assistance from Laird Lucas and other attorneys, as needed.
The most immediate threat is from potential Presidential action to de-designate Bears Ears, Gold Butte, or other National Monuments established by President Obama; and we have geared up with legal research and strategy to challenge such a de-designation order, if it occurs. Currently, Interior Secretary Zinke is conducting a review process (pursuant to a recent Trump Executive Order) to evaluate Monument designations going back to 1996, thus including Grand Staircase-Escalante (designated by Pres. Clinton). It is unclear what the final result of that review process will be, but it will likely include some kinds of de-designations or reduction in the acreage of Monument designations. We will likely play an active role in challenging any such actions on behalf of CLF.
Meanwhile, Todd has been providing extensive consultation and advice to CLF and its many partner groups. We anticipate that this National Monument Defense work will continue to expand over the next year.