Trump administration wants Bears Ears lawsuits consolidated into one

Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 18:04:27-05

SALT LAKE CITY — President Trump’s administration is asking a federal judge to consolidate all of the lawsuits over Bears Ears National Monument into one.

President Trump signs proclamations shrinking the size of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the White House asked to combine all of the lawsuits. Native American tribes, activist and environmental groups have filed three separate lawsuits challenging President Trump’s proclamation earlier this month shrinking southeastern Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument.

“These cases present challenges to the same Proclamation, against the same defendants, and present similar if not identical legal questions for determination,” U.S. Department of Justice attorney Romney Philpott wrote.

The different groups involved in the litigation did not necessarily oppose consolidating the lawsuits, but reserved the right to file separate legal motions and make separate arguments in the same lawsuit.

Earlier this month, President Trump traveled to Utah to sign proclamations shrinking the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. A separate lawsuit has also been filed challenging the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument modification.