Bears Ears National Monument (Utah)

Trump Plans to Shrink Two National Monuments in Utah

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Earlier on Friday, Mr. Zinke met with Mr. Trump to discuss the recommendations. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, said a final report would be released “shortly.” She did not confirm whether the president has signed off on it in part or in whole.

“I’m not going to get ahead of the president’s announcement on the specifics of that, but I can tell you he will be going to Utah in the first part of early December and we will release more details at that point, if not before,” Ms. Sanders said.

A spokeswoman from the Interior Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Environmental groups denounced the decision.


The Debate Over National Monuments

President Trump ordered a review in April that could open federally protected lands to mining, logging and drilling.

By NEETI UPADHYE, NATALIE RENEAU and ROBIN STEIN on Publish Date May 13, 2017. Photo by Morgan Rachel Levy for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

“It is a disgrace that the President wants to undo the nation’s first national monument created to honor Native American cultural heritage. And a travesty that he’s trying to unravel a century’s worth of conservation history, all behind closed doors,” Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said, referring to Bears Ears.

National monuments have long been a source of controversy among ranchers, miners and environmentalists. Conservative groups argue that such designations, similar to national parks, create regulatory burdens that hurt local economies. Bears Ears, which Mr. Obama created at the end of his term, has been a particular source of friction, as is Grand Staircase-Escalanate.

Republicans in Western states have accused both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama of federal overreach in demanding strict protections for those sites.

“We believe in the importance of protecting these sacred antiquities, but Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration rolled up their sleeves to dig in, talk to locals, talk to local tribes, and find a better way to do it,” Senator Hatch said.

The decision was expected to be challenged in court.

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Wendy Pettit

Wendy Pettit is a writer for NYT and writes for other publications on her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and her dog Zuko.

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