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Posted: 7:07:26 PM- The legal tussle over President Clinton's 1996 designation of a vast national monument covering parts of southern Utah is likely over.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver threw out the claims today of the last remaining plaintiff, ruling the Denver-based Mountain States Legal Foundation failed to show it had legal standing to file suit. Unless Mountain States mounts an unlikely Supreme Court appeal, the case is now over.

Nearly a decade ago, Clinton stood on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and announced the creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, covering 1.7 million acres including most of Garfield and Kane counties. That angered elected officials who were taken by surprise and those who wanted to develop a rich but remote rich coal preserve.

The Mountain States Legal Foundation argued that Clinton overreached his executive authority by creating the monument just a few months before he was up for reelection. The court didn't rule on that argument but rather said the foundation couldn't sue on behalf of Don Wood, who owned Southwest Stone, a company that mined alabaster on what became monument land.

He failed to file his annual paperwork and subsequently lost the ability to mine and closed his 20-year-old business in 1999.

The court said that Wood's actions, not the actions of Clinton or any other government official, caused him to lose his mining rights.