This has been an extraordinary week for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, with reasons to celebrate and even more reasons to stay vigilant in our commitment to protect this vital landscape. Here is a breakdown of the week’s events:
- August 10th: The Bureau of Land Management released the draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Monument. We commend agency staff and all of the Monument’s partners (including you!) for the work over the last year to complete this draft. The plan takes into consideration hundreds of public comments and an immense amount of data, with the ultimate goal of protecting the objects of value identified in the 2021 Presidential Proclamation. GSEP congratulates the BLM on this tremendous milestone and looks forward to submitting comments by the November 9th deadline. To learn more about the draft management plan and how to submit your own comments, please visit our page dedicated to the RMP.
- August 11th: Federal District Judge David Nuffer dismissed the State of Utah’s lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s restoration of Grand Staircase and Bears Ears National Monuments. In his dismissal, Judge Nuffer is clear about the legal authority of the President using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate national monuments. Unfortunately, on August 14th, the State appealed this decision. The State’s appeal represents a continued effort to undermine the Proclamation, the Monument, and its protections. And more broadly, it represents an attempt to unravel the legal authority embedded within the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments.
- August 15th: Monuments for All, a group dedicated to the establishment and preservation of national monuments, released a Call for Action for Grand Staircase in response to the House proposal for the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. Language in the proposed budget seeks to prevent the implementation of a new Resource Management Plan for Grand Staircase. If passed, it would require the BLM to follow the plan established under the Trump Administration, which allowed for extractive industries such as mining on the Monument. This very real attempt to undermine the Proclamation, the Monument, and its protections is not only a threat to Grand Staircase, but to all national monuments.
“Grand Staircase Escalante Partners will always need you. The Monument will always need us to speak up, to protect, to stand together. Safeguarding this astonishing landscape seems to be a lifelong commitment. We can’t do it without you.”
–Stephen Trimble, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners Board Member
This week we met with our attorneys to discuss these events and determine our next steps. They are:
1) Support the BLM in its completion of the new Resource Management Plan, which is scheduled to be signed into law in March 2024;
2) Use legal means to continue our defense of the Monument in the 10th District Court of Appeals; and,
3) Insist, through outreach to representatives in Utah and throughout the country, that the language included in the House appropriations Fiscal Year 2024 budget be removed.
We commit to these actions to protect Grand Staircase. We hope you will join us by contacting your representative to express your support for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, or by making a donation to our organization today. Thank you.