Report: Trump to cut crucial landscapes out of Grand Staircase and Bears Ears

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(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) The two buttes that make up the namesake for the Bears Ears National Monument reveal the vast landscape surrounding them as part of the 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah protected by President Barack Obama on Dec. 28, 2016. A Washington Post report Thursday said President Donald Trump intend to reduce the monument by 85 percent when he visits Utah next week.

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Brian Maffly ~ The Salt Lake Tribune

Two of the nation’s most scientifically significant landscapes — the Kaiparowits Plateau and Cedar Mesa — could be largely stripped of hard-won protections when President Donald Trump appears in Utah on Monday to announce major reductions to Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments, according to leaked documents obtained by The Washington Post.

 

The areas form the hearts of their respective national monuments, yet portions of them were targeted for removal under recommendations to Trump by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. After reviewing several large monuments across the U.S. earlier this year, Zinke concluded past presidents abused the Antiquities Act when they used the landmark conservation law to designate oversized monuments in southern Utah.

 

On his visit to Utah next week, Trump is expected to act on Zinke’s recommendations, which have never been disclosed outside a summary memo previously leaked to The Post. The newly leaked documents show how Utah’s two monuments could be broken into five, with tiny satellites to protect specific ruins, while stripping protection from 2 million acres of public lands.

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