Trump's Cut To Utah Monuments Sparks Protests And Lawsuits

Cliff formations at Bears Ears National Monument

President Trump dramatically downsized two national monuments in Utah Monday.

Trump announced Monday that he would follow Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recommendations to reduce Bears Ears National Monument by over 80% to 228,337 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45% to about one million acres.

Utah Republican leaders had complained that the monuments locked up too much federal land. The changes take effect in 60 days.

The changes will make way for oil and gas drilling, mining and other resource extraction activities in the beauty spot.

If allowed to stand, both the proclamations issued by Trump will come into effect on the morning of February 2, 2018, 60 days after being notified. "Trump.pdf" target="_blank">a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. court on behalf of eight different organizations, alleging that in signing the proclamation, Trump "violated the 1906 Antiquities Act by stripping monument protections from this national treasure". "We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts".

U.S. President Donald Trump touches the cheek of a Native American after signing an executive order at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017.

"With the action I'm taking today, we will not only give back your voice over the use of this land, we will also restore your access and your enjoyment".

Trump, he says, "listened to the local people, even though they weren't millions of voters, only 15,000 people in our community".

Trump previously had condemned the act of creating the Utah monuments as a "massive federal land grab". The details of that report will be released Tuesday, he said.

"The president stole your land", reads the message posted on the Patagonia homepage, calling the president's decision "illegal". They include the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain and Ute Indians who consider Bears Ears sacred. We worked to establish Bears Ears National Monument and will now fight to protect it. The last president to use his power to reduce the size of a monument was John F. Kennedy in 1963. "And the Antiquities Act was never meant to prevent, it was meant to protect".

Sunset Arch rises from a sagebrush and slickrock flat in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.

Both parks, or monuments as they are called, are in the dramatic Southern Utah red rock country.

Zinke told reporters the land targeted by Trump remains protected because it is still under federal control.

Outside, protesters held signs saying "Trump a monumental mistake" and "Tiny hands off our lands".

Bruce Adams, chairman of the San Juan County Commission is glad President Trump is considering shrinking monuments across the American West.

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