In Utah, Trump Announces Dramatic Decreases In Size To State's National Monuments


The President will speak at the state capitol at 12:30 P.M. That's where he's expected to announce massive reductions in the size of Bears Ears Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante.

Audio will be available later today.

Trump's announcement follows a months-long review by the Interior Department that he ordered in April to identify which of 27 monuments designated by past presidents should be rescinded or resized to provide states and local communities more control over how the land is used.

Demonstrators at the Capitol held signs that said "Utah stands with Bears Ears" and "Keep your tiny hands off our public lands".

"Your timeless bond with the outdoors should not be replaced with the whims of regulators thousands and thousands of miles away", Trump said.

Bears Ears, created last December by President Barack Obama, will be reduced by about 85 percent, to 201,876 acres (315 square miles).

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended that Trump vastly reduce the size of the monuments, stripping them of federal protections and instead turning over stewardship to state and tribal governments. Air Force one is expected to touch down at 10:50 the Air National Guard Base on the east side of the Salt Lake International Airport.

"We're going to be doing something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years", Trump said Monday at the White House before leaving for Utah. He said the decision would "give back your voice".

Hatch, who introduced Trump, said that when "you talk, this president listens" and that Trump promised to help him with "federal overreach".

Conservation groups and outdoor clothing company Patagonia have also said they plan to file a legal challenge, arguing the administration ignored public support for the monuments. They include the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain and Ute Indians who consider Bears Ears sacred.

Trump will also ask Congress to look at the areas that are being removed from the current monuments to consider designating some as a national conservation or national recreation areas, and create a co-management structure for tribes.

Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, national monuments can be designated either by Congress or the president.

Democrats and environmentalists have opposed the changes, accusing Trump and Zinke of engaging in a secretive process aimed at helping industry groups that have donated to Republican political campaigns.

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