President Trump made a major announcement on Monday about Utah's national monuments. According to the Daily Caller, Trump is making one of the largest reductions to national monuments since Congress empowered the president to designate the monuments in 1906 under the Antiquities Act.
Trump made the announcement during a speech in Utah, where he named two particular monuments that he wanted to cut back: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante.
In April, Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monuments created since 1996 with designations of more than 100,000 acres.
According to CNN, President Trump slammed past presidents, particularly Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, for what he calls "federal overreach." The two former presidents designated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante for protection, claiming, according to CNN, that such an action is necessary to preserve culture, history, and natural beauty.
Trump, however, interprets this as an attempt by the federal government — a small handful of distant bureaucrats located in Washington — to control local Utah lands.
"The families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best and you know the best how to take care of your land," Trump said. "You know how to protect it. And you know best how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come."
Many locals in Utah viewed the designations as a 3-million-acre federal land grab. CNN writes that the drillers, miners, and frackers who were shut out by Clinton's and Obama's use of the Antiquities Act would have new leases of life. Many Republicans in the state were especially critical of the Democratic effort to further control local lands.
Democrats, however, have claimed that this Democratic effort helps to protect sacred ruins and preserve natural beauty. They also claim to be supporting five local tribes who all put aside their ancient rivalries and lobbied for monument protection.
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