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President Trump’s national monument cuts draw 5th lawsuit

FILE - This July 15, 2016, file photo, shows the "Moonhouse" in McLoyd Canyon which is part of Bears Ears National Monument, near Blanding, Utah. President Donald Trump's rare move to shrink two large national monuments in Utah triggered another round of outrage among Native American leaders who vowed to unite and take the fight to court to preserve protections for lands they consider sacred. Trump decided to reduce Bears Ears — created last December by President Barack Obama — by about 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante — designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton — by nearly half. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Another coalition of conservation groups is suing to stop President Donald Trump’s cuts to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by 11 organizations including the Sierra Club is the fifth legal challenge to Trump’s reductions to Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

It is the third lawsuit focused on Bears Ears, which has land considered sacred to a coalition of Native American tribes.

The complaint echoes arguments made in the two previous Bears Ears lawsuits, claiming that Trump exceeded his power and jeopardized protections for “irreplaceable archaeological sites.”

Past presidents have trimmed national monuments 18 times, but there’s never been a court ruling about whether the 1906 Antiquities Act — which allows presidents to create a monument — also lets them reduce one.

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