Trump expected to announce plan to shrink Utah national monuments

Trump expected to announce plan to shrink Utah national monuments

Trump expected to announce plan to shrink Utah national monuments

As we've said from the beginning of President Trump's executive order to have Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke review 27 national monuments, it looks like this is all going to end up in the legal system for the conservation approach of this country to ultimately be decided by judges.

President Donald Trump has become the first president in half a century to scale back land protections for two national monuments in Utah. "The proclamation signed by President Trump today is so extreme that it revokes and replaces Bears Ears and thereby violates the Antiquities Act and seizes authority that the Constitution vests exclusively in Congress".

Trump chose to reduce Bears Ears National Monument by about 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half. He said that "we have not drawn out the maps specifically, but it's a small percentage of Gold Butte". Until we see what the president will sign, this fight is not over, and New Mexicans should keep calling and writing and making their voices heard.

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Utah Republican leaders had complained that the monuments locked up too much federal land.

Also Monday, another lawsuit filed by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) challenges the proclamation that takes away about 85 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument, also in Utah.

"We need places like Bears Ears where the land remains largely untouched - where the plants remain pure [and] the minerals remain pure because that affects the potency of our prayers and the potency of our ceremonies", said one of the speakers, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch. The company said Trump's decision "undermines the integrity" of the Antiquities Act, which is used to designate and protect national monuments.

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"The implications of these recommendations for Maine's monument remain unclear, so we can not fully judge whether these recommendations are acceptable and consistent with the overwhelming view of ME people, problematic for the intended objective of this Monument, or illegal and likely to trigger action in the courts", she said in a statement.

Trump said his decision was made to "reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens". The administration and Republican leaders in Utah say taking the land out of the hands of the federal government will allow the state to decide what to do with it, including protecting some areas and possibly allowing development in others. The most recent instance came in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy slightly downsized Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

The administration is also considering shrinking national monuments in states like Nevada and Oregon.

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