Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Trump slashes protections for national monuments created by Obama, Clinton

Hoodoos are among the natural wonders in Bears Ears National Monument.                       Bill Weir Hoodoos are among the natural wonders in Bears Ears National Monument. Bill Weir
Faye Gross | 05 December, 2017, 03:02

On Monday, Trump announced that his administration would reduce the size of two national monuments: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, each more than a million acres in size.

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.

Trump has said former presidents abused the Antiquities Act by putting unnecessarily big chunks of territory off limits to drilling, mining, grazing, road traffic and other activities - a headwind to his plan to ramp up USA energy output.

Trump argued that the people of Utah know best how to care for their land.

And with typical Trumpian flair, the president hyped the announcement as "one of the great, really, events in this country in a long time".

Former US Rep. Corrine Brown sentenced to five years in prison
That was the sole bit of good news, as Corrigan said that "brazen doesn't begin to describe" the scheme. Brown will appeal, though attorney James Smith has yet to determine if he will see that appeal through.


But tribal leaders representing the five tribes that pushed for the creation of the monument, and who now manage it, said they will take the Trump administration to court.

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

Trump signed an executive order in April asking for a review of his predecessors' use of the to designate federal lands as national monuments.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, will be reduced from almost 1.9 million acres (nearly 3,000 square miles) to 1,003,863 acres (1,569 square miles). The monument encompasses 1.4 million acres in southern Utah, including the distinctive twin mesas that give the monument its name. They include the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain and Ute Indians who consider Bears Ears sacred. The site in southern Utah contains a series of escalating canyons and gorges, and is the largest land area designated as a national monument. Trump is expected to meet first with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaders and tour the church's charitable-giving operation at Welfare Square.

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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