Flickr Creative Commons photo.
SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump will travel to Utah on Monday to announce his administration's decision to reduce the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
According to documents obtained by the Post, Trump will reduce the size of Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50 percent. Per the Post, those cuts are even greater in size than what administration officials had previously signaled, and will cut the overall size of Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante from nearly 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres.
The GOP-led initiative to cut the monuments was set in motion after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke submitted a recommendation earlier this year to cut the existing borders by a significant margin.
While in Utah, Trump is expected to deliver an address detailing why his administration will move to cut the Monuments. The President is not expected to visit Bears Ears or Grand Staircase-Escalante during the visit.
Native tribes and environmental groups are readying comprehensive lawsuits to halt the action, which they argue violates provisions of the 1906 Antiquities Act.
"This illegal action will cement Trump’s legacy as one of the worst presidents in modern history,” Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity told The Tribune. “Trump has no clue how much people love these sacred and irreplaceable landscapes, but he’s about to find out. He’s shown his blatant disregard for public lands, Native Americans and the law. We look forward to seeing him in court.”
Taking away these lands is not in the public interest, yet we have decision makers — elected to represent the people — that are failing Utah, failing to protect these world-class lands.
The move to cut Monument boundaries has driven a wedge between Utah's outdoor-recreation community and the Utah Republican Party, culminating earlier this year with the Outdoor Retailer show relocating to Colorado in protest.
Lifelong Utah resident and pro skier Julian Carr told TGR in a written statement that trimming these lands is not in the public interest.
"Geographically speaking, Utah is one of the most diverse landscapes in the world," Carr wrote. "The outdoor industry is vital to the well-being of its residents and a huge cornerstone of the Utah economy. Taking away these lands is not in the public interest, yet we have decision makers — elected to represent the people — that are failing Utah, failing to protect these world-class lands. We need visibility to this atrocity, both the environmental impact, and the economy. We have so few wild spaces left, it’s critical that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante remain protected."
Numerous rallies are being planned in support of keeping the Monuments intact. If you wish to learn more, you can do so here.
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