San Juan County formally switches sides in Bears Ears debate

Tribal officials say the lands around Bears Ears hold important historical and cultural artifacts for tribes in the region, as well as environmental and archeological sites. (Photo by Josh Ewing/Bears Ears Coalition)

Tribal officials say the lands around Bears Ears hold important historical and cultural artifacts for tribes in the region, as well as environmental and archeological sites. (Photo by Josh Ewing/Bears Ears Coalition)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A southeastern Utah county commission that used to be a vocal opponent of the Bears Ears National Monument created by President Barack Obama is switching sides in the debate now that it’s controlled by Democrats.

The San Juan County commission filed a notice April 16 in federal court to withdraw as an objecting intervenor to lawsuits filed by conservation and tribal groups challenging President Donald Trump’s downsizing of the monument in 2017.

The victory in the November election by Willie Grayeyes gave Democrats two of the three commissioner seats. He is a member of the Navajo Nation, which overlaps with the county.

It was the first general election since a federal judge decided racially gerrymandered districts illegally minimized the voices of Navajo voters who make a slim majority of the county’s population.

Comments

Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.