Trump rescinds nationwide monument protections on 1.9 million acres of Utah canyon land

President Donald Trump on Monday signed presidential proclamations which vastly cut back the dimensions of two protected pink rock canyon areas in Utah: The Bears Ears Nationwide Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante Nationwide Monument.

“I come to Utah to reverse federal overreach and restore this land” to native residents, Trump stated in a speech on the Utah state Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis.

“You understand greatest preserve these lands for a lot of, a few years to return,” the president informed the invitation-only crowd.

The primary proclamation Trump signed will shrink the dimensions of the Bears Ears Nationwide Monument by 85 p.c, or round 1.1 million acres. The second will cut back the dimensions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Nationwide Monument by one other 800,000 acres, to only beneath half of its present measurement, in accordance with truth sheets from the White Home.

Rolling again these designations, Trump stated, was a solution to “give again” public lands to the individuals who dwell close to them and love them most.

The choice to shrink the nationwide monuments, which had been designated by former President Barack Obama, is very controversial and pits conservationists and leisure customers of public lands in opposition to the oil and mining industries, in addition to different business pursuits.

By drastically lowering the quantity of land protected beneath the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Nationwide Monument designations, Trump successfully opened up the unprotected land to future drilling and mining.

Trump stated his proclamations take away “dangerous and pointless restrictions on searching, ranching and accountable financial growth.”

The authority to create nationwide monuments is afforded to presidents beneath a 1906 regulation known as the Antiquities Act, and within the century for the reason that regulation was handed, it has been used to guard thousands and thousands of acres of wilderness and scores of culturally important websites.

Trump decried what he known as “abuses of the Antiquities Act,” which he stated gave energy over land to “distant bureaucrats.”

There are at the moment greater than 125 designated nationwide monuments, encompassing all the things from a coral reef within the Caribbean to an African burial floor in New York State to a barrier island off the coast of Alaska.

Trump’s choice is anticipated to spark a protracted authorized battle over the president’s authority to put aside land for conservation, and the rights of states and industries to entry protected land.

Earlier than the president had even completed his remarks on Monday, environmental and conservation teams had been already labeling Trump’s choice “unlawful.”

“Trump’s unprecedented, unlawful motion is a brutal blow to our public lands, an affront to Native Individuals and a shame to the presidency,” stated Randi Spivak, the general public lands program director on the nonprofit Heart for Organic Variety.

“He needs at hand over these lands to non-public business to mine, frack, bulldoze and clear-cut till there’s nothing left for our youngsters and grandchildren,” Spivak stated in a press release.

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