Trump expected to shrink 2 Utah monuments by two-thirds

Published on November 30, 2017 at 02:52PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will announce plans next week to shrink two sprawling Utah national monuments by nearly two-thirds, reversing actions taken by Democrat Barack Obama after a years-long push by tribal leaders and environmental groups.

Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Trump plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half. The plan would cut the total amount of land in the state’s red rock country protected under monument status from more than 3.2 million acres (5,000 square miles) to about 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles).

Trump has told Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and other Utah officials that he will follow the recommendation of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to shrink both monuments, but the White House and Zinke’s office have not offered details about how they’d redraw the monument boundaries.

Trump is traveling to Utah on Monday and is expected to announce details about his plan to shrink the two monuments, the first and the largest monuments targeted for reduction by Trump after a review of monuments nationwide launched earlier this year.

The proposed changes would be the most significant reductions by any president to monument designations made under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president wide authority to protect federal sites considered historic or geographically or culturally significant.