Legislative: On Shrinking Bears Ears National Monument

Federal Lands Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 Time: 10:30 AM Location: Longworth House Office Building 1324


  • H.R. 4532 (Rep. John Curtis), To create the first Tribally managed national monument, and for other purposes. “Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act” 


  • On December 4, 2017, President Trump eliminated Bears Ears National Monument. Trump’s proclamation deemed the area open to speculative mining and drilling within 60 days.  The clock expires on February 2, so without action from Congress or an emergency withdrawal by the Interior Secretary, the area will be open to future mining and drilling. 
  • The decision to eliminate Bears Ears National Monument was immediately challenged in court by all five tribal governments in the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, a group organized to advocate for the designation of the monument.
  • Rather than coordinate with tribes or wait for the litigation to run its course, the Utah delegation introduced H.R. 4532, a bill that matches up with Trump’s proclamation and provides cover for the illegal elimination of the monument.
  • The elimination of Bears Ears National Monument – the two new national monuments established by H.R. 4532 represent a nearly 85% reduction in total acres - leaves critical cultural, historic, and scientific resources without protection.
  • While H.R. 4532 purports to create the first ever tribally-managed national monument, it sidelines tribal sovereignty and gives the State of Utah and the Utah delegation undue influence over tribal representation.
  • Tribes that fought for years to protect this area were not consulted in the drafting or development of H.R. 4532.The Minority’s use of Rule XI is the only reason all five tribes were invited to provide comment on H.R. 4532. Committee Republicans were eager to advance the bill without the full spectrum of tribal input. 


    Panel I

    1. Jason Chaffetz
      Former Republican Member of Congress
      Utah's 3rd District
    2. Regina Lopez Whiteskunk
      Former Councilwoman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council
      Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
    3. The Honorable Carleton Bowekaty
      Pueblo of Zuni
    4. The Honorable Clark Tenakhongva
      Vice Chairman, Hopi Tribal Council
      The Hopi Tribe
    5. The Honorable Rusell Begaye
      Navajo Nation
    6. The Honorable Rebecca Benally
      Vice Chair, San Juan County Commission
      San Juan County, Utah

    Panel II

    1. The Honorable Sean D. Reyes
      Attorney General
      State of Utah
    2. John Tashuda III
      Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs
      Interior Department
    3. Casey Hammond
      Deputy Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management
      Interior Department