The reality is that the PLI has problems that go beyond the Bears Ears. In too many places it bent toward the energy industry, and it would allow the counties to claim roads where there aren't any and shouldn't be. The PLI's county-driven process never accepted that it was about America's land, and so it never gave adequate voice to the tribes or to national environmental groups. That cost the congressmen years that could have gone into real talks.

Instead, we get a mad scramble at the end, and the Utahns in Congress look like they have been outplayed. A negotiated settlement would have been better, but a Bears Ears monument declaration looks like the only viable solution at this point.