National Monuments FOIA Suit
Advocates for the West Vs. United States Department of Justice, Case No. 17-CV-423
Advocates for the West
United States National MonumentsStates:
October 12, 2017 – Advocates for the West is representing itself in a suit filed today by Senior Attorney Todd Tucci against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice, seeking disclosure of unlawfully withheld documents demonstrating that President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lack authority to vacate or shrink Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and all other National Monuments.
On April 26, 2017, President Trump ordered Secretary Zinke to review certain monument designations and expansions, and make recommendations on whether the monuments in question should be retained, withdrawn or reduced. In May, Secretary Zinke identified the 22 land-based National Monuments under review and invited public comment.
Anticipating President Trump’s threats to National Monuments, Advocates for the West filed a Freedom of Information Act request in February seeking DOJ’s final memoranda relating to the president’s authority to withdraw, modify, or shrink National Monuments under the Antiquities Act. DOJ identified 12 documents responsive to this request, but has refused to disclose them.
Our suit contends the agency is providing cover for President Trump and Secretary Zinke’s unprecedented attack on National Monuments by unlawfully withholding public documents establishing that they lack authority to eliminate or shrink any National Monument.
Advocates for the West is working to force public disclosure of these documents so that we all can see for ourselves what Trump and Zinke have in mind for our National Monuments.