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Utah Attorney General seeking legal counsel to challenge President Biden's monument restoration

John Folwer


The Utah Attorney General is looking to hire third party legal counsel to challenge President Biden's reinstatement of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.

“Utah Attorney General's office had circulated a request for funding proposal looking for outside law firms to propose a package whereby that firm would represent the state in litigation, challenging restoration of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments”.


Steve Bloch, is the Legal Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. He did not express surprise with this challenge, given that last April Governor Cox stated Utah would be likely to sue President Biden if he were to restore the monuments. Bloch stated his concern with the potential cost of hiring outside counsel with taxpayer money.

“The state identifies the type of attorneys and the type of team they want to see a law firm put together and submit, essentially a bid for this kind of a contract. There's not a specific number, you know, financial number attached, but based on our experience, and the scope of the litigation. It's hard to imagine how the state is anticipating paying less than $10 million dollars for this.”

Several of the towns surrounding the monuments are supportive of President Biden restoring their original boundaries. 


“Most of the people in Boulder and I would say even in Escalante are in favor of the monument because most of the businesses that exist now have adapted to the monument being there. Our livelihoods depend on it.” 

Steve Cox is the Mayor of Boulder Utah. While Cox is glad to see the monuments’ size restored, he recognizes there are some issues that need to be resolved. 

“I'd really like to see more federal jobs brought in, and management being a little better than it is because, I think we have three rangers or four rangers, it's not many to police two million acres. And that’s just not a way to manage land”

Cox believes hiring additional people will improve land management and people to the area for jobs bolsters the economy and brings more kids to the schools. 

The Attorney General’s office will be accepting proposals through November 5th, and will select a legal team after that, at which point, UPR will follow up.


Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!