SALT LAKE CITY – President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday to cut back two sprawling nationwide monuments in Utah, pledging to “reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your residents.”
Trump made his plans official throughout a speech on the state capitol, the place he was cheered by the state’s Republican leaders who lobbied him to undo protections they contend are overly broad and shut off the realm to vitality growth and different entry.
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Environmental and tribal teams plan to sue to protect monuments they are saying are very important to guard vital archaeological and cultural sources, particularly the Bears Ears Nationwide Monument, a greater than 1.three million-acre (2,030-square-mile) web site in southeastern Utah that options hundreds of Native American artifacts, together with historical cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
“Some individuals assume that the pure sources of Utah ought to be managed by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats situated in Washington,” Trump mentioned. “And guess what? They’re mistaken.”
Roughly three,000 demonstrators lined up close to the state capitol protesting Trump’s announcement. The protesters held indicators that mentioned, “Preserve your tiny fingers off our public lands,” and so they chanted, “Lock him up!” A smaller group gathered in help of Trump’s resolution, together with some who mentioned they favour potential drilling or mining there that might create jobs.
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The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante nationwide monuments had been amongst a gaggle of 27 monuments that Trump ordered Inside Secretary Ryan Zinke to evaluation this yr.
Bears Ears, created final yr by President Barack Obama, might be diminished to 201,876 acres (315 sq. miles).
Grand Staircase-Escalante Nationwide Monument, designated in 1996, might be diminished from practically 1.9 million acres (practically three,000 sq. miles) to 1,003,863 acres (1,569 sq. miles).
Trump additionally met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and toured Welfare Sq., a church-run complicated in Salt Lake Metropolis that aids the poor.
Zinke accompanied Trump aboard Air Pressure One, as did Utah’s Republican senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Hatch and different Utah Republican leaders pushed Trump to launch the evaluation, saying the monuments declared by Presidents Barack Obama and Invoice Clinton locked up an excessive amount of federal land.
Trump exited the aircraft with Hatch and was greeted by cheers from a crowd assembled for the arrival. Hatch joined the president on a rope line, the place Trump engaged in some small discuss and signed somebody’s hat earlier than he was pushed to his subsequent cease.
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Trump mentioned Monday whereas leaving the White Home that the monument announcement is “one thing that the state of Utah and others have needed to be carried out for a lot of, a few years.” He mentioned it’s “so vital for states’ rights and so vital for the individuals of Utah.”
In December, shortly earlier than leaving workplace, Obama irritated Utah Republicans by creating the Bears Ears Nationwide Monument on land sacred to Native People.
Trump signed an govt order in April directing Zinke to evaluation the protections. Trump is ready to upend the protections beneath the 1906 Antiquities Act, which provides the president broad authority to declare federal lands as monuments and prohibit their use.
Trump mentioned on the time that he had spoken to state and native leaders “who’re gravely involved about this huge federal land seize. And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse, and now we’re going to free it up, which is what ought to have occurred within the first place. This could by no means have occurred.”
The transfer marks the primary time in a half century president has undone these kinds of land protections. And it might be the primary of many modifications to return.
Zinke has additionally beneficial that Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou monuments be shrunk, although particulars stay unclear. The previous Montana congressman’s plan would enable logging at a newly designated monument in Maine and extra grazing, looking and fishing at two websites in New Mexico.
Democrats and environmentalists have opposed the modifications, accusing Trump and Zinke of participating in a secretive course of aimed toward serving to business teams which have donated to Republican political campaigns.
Related Press writers Brady McCombs in Salt Lake Metropolis and Darlene Superville and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.