Global News

Protesters rally in Grand Junction against National Monument decision

Protesters rally in Grand Junction against National Monument decision

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

The president issued two proclamations Monday to reduce the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as well as the Bears Ears National Monument, and to allow mining in the newly public lands, and conservation groups filed a lawsuit against it a few hours later.

"Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration's unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments", Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement, according to AdAge. One would reduce the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, created in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama, to 228,784 acres split into two separate areas.

At Gold Butte, a 300,000-acre monument in southern Nevada, Zinke proposed reducing some of the designated area near a water district used by local residents to allow for repairs and infrastructure upgrades. He reduced by 85 percent the 1.5 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, which is dedicated to Native American culture and cut in half the Grand Staircase Escalante.

"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". But it's not clear whether this is something that Trump can even do: The courts have never ruled on whether the president actually has the power to shrink a national monument.

Zinke told reporters Tuesday he is "fairly confident" Trump will accept his recommendations.

Patagonia says it will sue President Trump after he reduced the size of two monuments in Utah
Patagonia says it will sue President Trump after he reduced the size of two monuments in Utah

Trump said previous presidents overstepped their authority in declaring vast tracts of western lands off-limits, abusing the "purpose, spirit and intent" of a 1906 law known as the Antiquities Act. "They don't know your land". Officials believe some of the protected land should be legally set aside for logging rather than monuments, Zinke said, and they're considering what to do about private land within the monument borders.

REI changed its homepage to feature a large photo of Bears Ears National Monument with the words "We ❤ Our Public Lands" written across it.

Both monuments span millions of acres in Utah and are among 27 national monuments that Trump ordered his Interior Secretary to review earlier this year. "And the Antiquities Act was never meant to prevent, it was meant to protect".

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

People held signs as cheers and boos ran throughout the park.

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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