President Trump shrinks national monuments

The Golden Cathedral in the Grand Staircase  Escalante National Monument Utah

The Golden Cathedral in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Utah

Earthjustice, which filed on behalf of ten groups including the Wilderness Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council, challenges the reduction of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, according to AP.

- Outdoor gear company Patagonia says it will take legal action over President Trump's move to dramatically shrink two national monuments in Utah.

Trump will also ask Congress to look at the areas that are being removed from the current monuments to consider designating some as a national conservation or national recreation areas, and create a co-management structure for tribes, an administration official said.

Trump announced Monday that he would follow Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recommendations to reduce Bears Ears National Monument by over 80% to 228,337 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45% to about one million acres. What remains of the monument lands may be subdivided into multiple, isolated areas.

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When President Obama designated Bears Ears a national monument past year, it was a huge victory for five Utah tribes - the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, Hopi, and the Pueblo of Zuni - who came together in 2015 to push for the preservation of what they estimate are 100,000 cultural and ancestral sites, some dating back to 1300 AD, in the region.

"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".

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.

Mr Trump called the Bears Ears National Monument, which covers 1.3 million acres and was created in 2016 by Mr Obama, to be cut to...

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Zinke said Tuesday he would focus changes in Gold Butte on the site's water districts. "They don't know your land".

"It's an attack on all of our National Monuments, an attack on one in an attack on all, so we want to come out here and stand in solidarity of protection of our national treasures", Gabriel Otoro, organizer of the rally, said.

Unlike national parks, which are established by Congress, the Antiquities Act allows national monuments to be designated either by Congress or the president.

But the Trump administration insists the president can do that, and Zinke said Tuesday that Trump was "absolutely right" to order a review of 27 large monument declarations dating back two decades. The federal government controls about two thirds of Utah. He also calls for a new assessment of border-safety risks at a monument in southern New Mexico.

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Outside, protesters held signs saying "Trump a monumental mistake" and "Tiny hands off our lands".

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