On Monday, President Donald Trump removed about two million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. While Utah politicians were happy with his decision, many environmental groups are pushing back.
Eight groups have announced a lawsuit against the president’s decision, calling the action illegal and immoral.
Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist at Friends of the Earth, an environmental advocacy organization, is confident the courts will rule in his group’s favor.
“It was illegal for the president to withdraw acres from national parks, it goes against the Antiquities Act, this is something that has never actually been tried in court before and we think that President Trump is going to find out this is illegal and the courts will overturn it,” he said.
Kristen Brengel, vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said Trump’s ignoring of the Antiquities Act, which is in place to protect public lands, is offensive to residents of Utah.
“The fact that we’ve had this law for over 100 years that has protected these incredible places, it is just incredible that we’ve had a president that would think it was OK for the American people to start erasing the protection for some of these places. In addition to the actions taken yesterday being completely illegal and just unacceptable morally, this is just something that strikes a chord with the American public and Utahns and is just unpopular,” she said.