SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Newly obtained documents reveal a small county in southeastern Utah paid a consulting firm nearly $500,000 to lobby against the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument and for the downsizing of it after it was created.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports public records show San Juan County paid New Orleans-based Davillier Law Group $485,600 in 2016-2017 to prepare information packets sent to then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The county overpaid $109,500 for one bill that was charged twice. Davillier attorneys charged $500-an-hour for air travel.
Davillier attorney George Wentz declined comment.
President Barack Obama created the monument in 2016 before President Donald Trump downsized it by about 85% a year later.
Davillier is the same firm that came under fire for lavish spending when the state of Utah hired it to prepare a public lands lawsuit.