Trump's Cut To Utah Monuments Sparks Protests And Lawsuits

Trump's Cut To Utah Monuments Sparks Protests And Lawsuits

The Colorado River winds around the northern reaches of the proposed Bear Ears National Monument, with Canyonlands National Park in the background, viewed from Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab, Utah on November 12, 2016.

On Monday, President Donald Trump announced the rollback of Obama and Clinton-era federal land protections that will reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah by 85% and halve the size of Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante. "Trump.pdf" target="_blank">a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. court on behalf of eight different organizations, alleging that in signing the proclamation, Trump "violated the 1906 Antiquities Act by stripping monument protections from this national treasure".

Supporters of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments gather during a rally on December 2, 2017, in Salt Lake City. He said that "we have not drawn out the maps specifically, but it's a small percentage of Gold Butte".

U.S. President Donald Trump autographs the hat of Bruce Adams, chairman of the San Juan County Commission, after Trump signed an executive order at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017.

When the administration began its controversial review of 27 large monuments, including Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, it said the Act needed to be tested.

A coalition of the Hopi, Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Ute, Zuni tribes and Navajo Nation sued late on Monday to challenge the Bears Ears reduction.

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But 53-year-old contractor Jose Luis Aguirre said the attempt to unilaterally break away from Spain "is an act that can not be allowed".

Ryan Beam, of the Center For Biological Diversity, said the Antiquities Act, which established the national monument system, doesn't allow for their elimination.

President Trump has dramatically scaled back two national land monuments in Utah.

According to Earthjustice, the Antiquities Act grants presidents the authority to designate public land as federally protected areas under national monuments to safeguard significant features of natural, cultural, historic or scientific interest.

Trump said his decision was made to "reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens".

"Reducing the size of monument would help free up a lot of land that has been under oppression", said Mike Noel, a state representative from Kane County, more than half of which is occupied by Grand Staircase. They say Monday's action will open the public land to mining and drilling. But it also gave presidents the authority to create national monuments on their own without Congress. "On Wednesday, we will be filing a lawsuit challenging the president's revocation of Bears Ears National Monument".

He said Trump should also consider changing the boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments in the Pacific Ocean.

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