Trump expected to announce plan to shrink Utah national monuments

Trump Wants to Drastically Shrink These National Monuments

Trump Wants to Drastically Shrink These National Monuments

With President Donald Trump's decision on Monday to remove over 2 million acres of land from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, three lawsuits have already been filed in response to the presidential proclamation.

Utah's mostly Republican officials have lobbied Trump for months, saying the monuments closed off the areas to energy development and other access.

But the wilderness groups say Trump needs to bone up on the Antiquities Act.

The other would cut to the state's 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument created by President Bill Clinton in 1996 almost in half, splitting it into three areas.

"It's just another slap in the face for a lot of us, a lot of our Native American brothers and sisters", Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said.

In a statement Monday, Heidi McIntosh from Earthjustice's Rocky Mountains office said: "President Trump has perpetrated a awful violation of America's public lands and heritage by going after this dinosaur treasure trove".

The expected announcement is in keeping with a recommendation from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and will come two days after thousands gathered at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City to protest the anticipated reductions.

Unlike national parks, which can only be created by an act of Congress, national monuments can be designated unilaterally by presidents under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which is meant to protect sacred sites, artefacts and historical objects.

This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.

President Donald Trump says his plan to scale back two national monuments in Utah is an important move for "state's rights" as well as for the people of Utah.

Trump previously had condemned the act of creating the Utah monuments as a "massive federal land grab".

"The implications of these recommendations for Maine's monument remain unclear, so we can not fully judge whether these recommendations are acceptable and consistent with the overwhelming view of ME people, problematic for the intended objective of this Monument, or illegal and likely to trigger action in the courts", she said in a statement.

"And guess what? They're wrong", Trump said when he announced his decision Monday. The plans aim to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half, according to the documents. And when it comes to decisions about the future of public lands, Americans deserve an open and above-board approach - not the sham process the Trump administration has used to try to justify loosening protections. The law gives presidents broad authority to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

He said Trump should also consider changing the boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments in the Pacific Ocean.

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