President Trump is going to slash two large swaths of federal land in the American West, which are legacy monuments created by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
President Trump is going to be visiting Salt Lake City, Utah Monday to make the announcement of his decision to cut the two major pieces of federal land, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Bears Ears National Monument.
Trump’s plan has received a lot of criticism, with some environmentalists and Native American activists even protesting, claiming the cuts are illegal and offensive to Native American.
Anyhow, conservatives have been opposing the monuments claiming they are just usurpation of land by the federal government by abusing the 1906 Antiquities Act.
This plan has been in move a long time, October President Trump contacted Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch and informed him that he is approving a plan by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that will reverse federal protection on 3.6 million acres of land. That would mean 85% reduction of the Bears Ears National monument federally-protected land.
President Trump’s decision would give back the land to local governments as opposed to keeping it under federal control.
Both the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are controversial lands, but the latter drew far more attention as of late.
During his last moments as a president, Obama used the Antiquities Act to create the monument, which was the 29th monument created during his eight years meaning a total of 553 million acres of land that he put under federal control.
The issue is that, though, the Antiquities Act gives the president right to create monuments, is specifically says they need to a) be confined to as small an area as possible and b) limited to “protecting specific artifacts or other items of cultural and historical significance.”
GOP Rep. Rob Bishop agrees that the land needs to be returned to the local governments.
“Utah has become ground zero for politically motivated national monument designations that are excessive in size and contemptuous of peoples’ livelihoods,” said Rep. Bishop, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“The president has stood against prior abuses of executive power, and his administration has demonstrated a commitment to work in concert with local communities to protect unique public antiquities and objects the right way.”
A very big week for Utah’s own Senator @OrrinHatch with tax reform, Bears Ears reversion, and a presidential visit.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 2, 2017
But this didn’t prevent the 5,000 protesters from gathering in Utah’s State Capitol on Saturday, to protest the plan.
“I want him to visit Bears Ears before he takes any action,” said Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch.
Sure, the president will visit the Bears Ears, but as a state property, the way it was and it should be, before Obama took it.
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