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Salt Lake City - Trump Takes Rare Step To Reduce National Monuments Created By Obama, Clinton

Published on: December 4, 2017 06:22 PM
By: AP
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President Donald Trump is surrounded by Utah representatives at the Utah Capitol on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, as he signs two presidential proclamations to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)President Donald Trump is surrounded by Utah representatives at the Utah Capitol on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, as he signs two presidential proclamations to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Salt Lake City - President Donald Trump on Monday took the rare step of scaling back two sprawling national monuments in Utah, declaring that “public lands will once again be for public use” in a move cheered by Republican leaders who lobbied him to undo protections they considered overly broad.

The decision marks the first time in a half century that a president has undone these types of land protections. Tribal and environmental groups oppose the decision and are expected to go to court in a bid to stop Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

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Trump made the plan official during a speech at the State Capitol, where he signed proclamations to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Both monuments encompass millions of acres of land.

State officials said the protections were overly broad and closed off the area to energy development and other access.

Environmental and tribal groups say the designations are needed to protect important archaeological and cultural resources, especially the more than 1.3 million-acre (2,030-square-mile) Bears Ears site featuring thousands of Native American artifacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.

Trump argued that the people of Utah know best how to care for their land.

“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” Trump said. “And guess what? They’re wrong.”

Roughly 3,000 demonstrators lined up near the State Capitol to protest Trump’s announcement. Some held signs that said, “Keep your tiny hands off our public lands,” and they chanted, “Lock him up!” A smaller group gathered in support, including some who said they favor potential drilling or mining there that could create jobs. Bears Ears has no oil or gas, Zinke told reporters, though there is coal in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

“Your timeless bond with the outdoors should not be replaced with the whims of regulators thousands and thousands of miles away,” Trump said. “I’ve come to Utah to take a very historic action to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens.”

Bears Ears, created last December by President Barack Obama, will be reduced by about 85 percent, to 201,876 acres (315 square miles).

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, will be reduced from nearly 1.9 million acres (nearly 3,000 square miles) to 1,003,863 acres (1,569 square miles).

Both were among a group of 27 monuments that Trump ordered Zinke to review this year.

Zinke accompanied Trump aboard Air Force One, as did Utah’s Republican U.S. senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Hatch and other Utah Republican leaders pushed Trump to launch the review, saying the monuments designated by the former Democratic presidents locked up too much federal land.

Trump framed the decision as returning power to the state, saying, “You know and love this land the best and you know the best how to take care of your land.” He said the decision would “give back your voice.”

“Public lands will once again be for public use,” Trump said to cheers.

Hatch, who introduced Trump, said that when “you talk, this president listens” and that Trump promised to help him with “federal overreach.”

Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario said the outdoor-apparel company will join an expected court fight against the monument reduction, which she described as the “largest elimination of protected land in American history.”

No president has tried to eliminate a monument, but some have reduced or redrawn the boundaries on 18 occasions, according to the National Park Service. The most recent instance came in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy slightly downsized Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

Trump’s move against Bears Ears, covering lands considered sacred to tribes that long pushed for protections, marks his latest affront to Native Americans.

Trump overrode tribal objections to approve the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines, and he used a recent White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers to take a political jab at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat he has nicknamed “Pocahontas” for her claim to have Native American heritage.

Trump signed an executive order in April directing Zinke to review the protections. Trump is able to upend the protections under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives presidents broad authority to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

Zinke has also recommended to Trump that Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou monuments be reduced in size, though details remain unclear. The former Montana congressman’s plan would allow logging at a newly designated monument in Maine and more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.

Democrats and environmentalists have opposed the changes, accusing Trump and Zinke of engaging in a secretive process aimed at helping industry groups that have donated to Republican political campaigns.



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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 04, 2017 at 06:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Wonderful a punch in the nose of the Obumbler.

2

 Dec 04, 2017 at 07:00 PM Eliminate Trump Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Wonderful a punch in the nose of the Obumbler.

Au contraire, dirt bag...it represents a vindicative act without precedent, done for no apparent reason by a vindictive fool - of course such vindictive motives are not permitted by the Torah, but people like you don’t care - you’re white trash with a yarmulke.

3

 Dec 04, 2017 at 07:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Wonderful a punch in the nose of the Obumbler.

wonderful a punch in the nose of all Americans

4

 Dec 05, 2017 at 05:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Eliminate Trump Says:

Au contraire, dirt bag...it represents a vindicative act without precedent, done for no apparent reason by a vindictive fool - of course such vindictive motives are not permitted by the Torah, but people like you don’t care - you’re white trash with a yarmulke.

How are your crayons, snowflake?

5

 Dec 05, 2017 at 07:44 AM yamsar Says:

Reply to #2  
Eliminate Trump Says:

Au contraire, dirt bag...it represents a vindicative act without precedent, done for no apparent reason by a vindictive fool - of course such vindictive motives are not permitted by the Torah, but people like you don’t care - you’re white trash with a yarmulke.

Don’t you find it hypocritical to cite Torah values as a measure for a non-Jewish president and then to go on and hurl insults as if no Torah exists?

6

 Dec 05, 2017 at 08:10 AM Nova2 Says:

Everyone cries when the price of oil and gas rises, so like he said during his campaign, we don't need to import! We can make America Great Again, right here in the good old USA! BTW how's jobs and the stock market doing?

7

 Dec 05, 2017 at 09:28 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Nova2 Says:

Everyone cries when the price of oil and gas rises, so like he said during his campaign, we don't need to import! We can make America Great Again, right here in the good old USA! BTW how's jobs and the stock market doing?

The United states export oil to china, donald ducky will america small, tiny again

8

 Dec 05, 2017 at 09:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Wonderful a punch in the nose of the Obumbler.

shmigege it is a punch in the nose of the Indian tribe who believe in the sanctity of that piece of land. Anyhow it is not mar lago so to h'll with it

9

 Dec 05, 2017 at 10:50 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #2  
Eliminate Trump Says:

Au contraire, dirt bag...it represents a vindicative act without precedent, done for no apparent reason by a vindictive fool - of course such vindictive motives are not permitted by the Torah, but people like you don’t care - you’re white trash with a yarmulke.

What exactly is prohibited by our Torah ? It's only prohibited by your fake pc Torah which is not the true Torah .

As far as I know there is no mitzva to preserve land especially in chutz laretz. The only prohibition is to cut down fruit trees.

Stop making up lies

10

 Dec 05, 2017 at 10:55 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

The United states export oil to china, donald ducky will america small, tiny again

So what's wrong with exporting to china ? Why should the Muslims export to China ? Let the USA make that money .

Besides I don't buy your nonsense . You think all the extra energy produced on these lands will be exported ? Some of it will stay here . And if there is a huge increase in oil prices laws of supply and demand will tell these companies to sell it here and make more than in china .

Your blinded hate for Trump leads you to write senseless comments .

Bottom line extra land is a win win . And the Indians have plenty of land already . Enough crying for that tiny minority . They have plenty of rights and power .

11

 Dec 05, 2017 at 12:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Educated Archy Says:

So what's wrong with exporting to china ? Why should the Muslims export to China ? Let the USA make that money .

Besides I don't buy your nonsense . You think all the extra energy produced on these lands will be exported ? Some of it will stay here . And if there is a huge increase in oil prices laws of supply and demand will tell these companies to sell it here and make more than in china .

Your blinded hate for Trump leads you to write senseless comments .

Bottom line extra land is a win win . And the Indians have plenty of land already . Enough crying for that tiny minority . They have plenty of rights and power .

that tiny minority occupied this land No I don't hate this man but I but I believe he is unfit for the job and ignorant supporters like you convince me more

12

 Dec 05, 2017 at 01:27 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

that tiny minority occupied this land No I don't hate this man but I but I believe he is unfit for the job and ignorant supporters like you convince me more

They have plenty of land and don't need all that empty land. Its not like they are getting thrown out of their homes. Enough crying for these poor Indians. They are taken care of more than any american.

13

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