Trump Plans To Shrink Two National Monuments, Utah Senator Says

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

Bob Strong / Reuters

President Trump reportedly plans to shrink two national monuments in Utah, delivering a major victory to some westerners but enraging conservationists who argue the White House has little regard for public lands.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said Friday that the president called him to say he would shrink Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, the Associated Press reported. President Obama created Bears Ears in the final days of his presidency, while President Clinton created Grand Staircase Escalante in 1996.

Both monuments are located in the rugged deserts of southern Utah.

The move to shrink the monuments comes after a review of national monuments from Trump's interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, earlier this year.

Conservative western lawmakers and some people in rural communities have long argued that the monuments, which are similar to national parks, come with a host of regulations that hurt local economies. In the lead up to the creation of Bears Ears, conservative westerners lobbied hard against any new monument designations, and in the aftermath lawmakers have explored ways to reduce a president's authority to designate monuments in the first place.

But environmental groups — and in the case of Bears Ears, Native American tribes — have lobbied equally hard in favor of the monuments, saying they protect sensitive ecosystems, threatened wildlife, and culturally significant landscapes.

Many conservation groups slammed Friday's revelation that Trump plans to shrink the Utah monuments. In a statement, Greg Zimmerman, the deputy director for the Center for Western Priorities, said the president “will stop at nothing to sell out America’s parks and public lands.”

“This foolish attempt to erase protections for Bears Ears — or any other national monument — will meet immediate legal challenges, and it is destined to fail in court,” the group threatened.

This is a developing story. Check back later and follow @BuzzFeedNews on Twitter for updates.

LINK: The Trump Administration Won’t Eliminate Any National Monuments, But It Will Modify A “Handful”


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