Many people agree that the area around the new Bears Ears National Monument is special enough to warrant protection. Native Americans and environmentalists applaud departing President Barack Obama for creating the monument to preserve its landscape, traditions and cultural resources. But many San Juan County residents and Utah political leaders have vowed to reverse it.
University of Utah law professor John Ruple has studied Utah’s public land debate -- including the monument designation -- with an eye on finding common ground. An associate professor at the University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, he’s thought a lot about what’s to come after the new Republican administration is sworn in. KUER's Judy Fahys recently sat down with Ruple in the KUER studios and began the interview by asking him if Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act was legal.