Trump to visit Utah next week, expected
to announce monument decision
Send a link to a friend
[November 29, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President
Donald Trump is set to visit Utah on Monday and is expected to announce
his decision on whether to reduce the size of two national monuments
where drilling and mining are banned, an administration official said on
Trump is expected shrink the Bears Ears National Monument, set aside by
former Democratic President Barack Obama, and the Grand
Staircase-Escalante National Monument, preserved by former Democratic
President Bill Clinton. The trip was first reported by the Salt Lake
Trump has pushed to roll back regulations that prevent development. To
that end, he had ordered a review of the size of 27 monuments: land with
cultural, historical or scientific importance preserved from development
by past presidents under the Antiquities Act.
Last month, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump would
travel to Utah in early December, and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah
Republican, said Trump would reduce the size of the monuments.
Environmental groups and Native American tribal organizations plan to
protest Trump's planned visit on Saturday at Utah's state capitol at
what they call "The Rally Against Trump's Monumental Mistake."
The announcement is expected to touch off a legal battle with
environmental groups and Native American tribes. The Navajo Nation and
the four other tribes that created and co-manage the Bears Ears monument
plan to file a lawsuit the next day.
"We will be fighting back immediately. All five tribes will be standing
together united to defend Bears Ears," said Natalie Landreth, an
attorney for the Native American Rights Fund.
[to top of second column]
President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at the White House in
Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other conservation groups
also plan litigation against the Trump administration to challenge
changes to both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, said Steve Bloch,
director of SUWA.
Bloch said conservation groups are concerned that Trump's
announcement will include an order to offer areas in the monuments
for public lease sales for coal mining or oil and gas drilling.
Industry groups like the oil lobbying organization the American
Petroleum Institute have said in the past that both Bears Ears and
Grand Staircase-Escalante were unfairly designated as monuments and
needed to be reviewed.
Some Utah county officials welcome a reduction in the size of the
monuments, which they say has restricted road access to protected
In Kane County, where 60 percent of land is located within Grand
Staircase, commissioner Dirk Clayson plans to attend Trump's event
if he is invited.
"We are grateful that somebody is listening to our local voice," he
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Roberta Rampton and Valerie Volcovici;
Editing by Matthew Lewis and Chris Reese)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.