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Donald Trump rolls back federal land protections

Donald Trump rolls back federal land protections

President Donald Trump on Monday signed presidential proclamations which vastly reduce the size of two protected red rock canyon areas in Utah: The Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

By drastically reducing the amount of land protected under the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monument designations, Trump effectively opened up the unprotected land to future drilling and mining.

Audio will be available later today.

The decision to rescind federal protection for five national monuments was made despite a months-long public relations campaign launched by various public lands preservation supporters.

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The authority to create national monuments is afforded to presidents under a 1906 law called the Antiquities Act, and in the century since the law was passed, it has been used to protect millions of acres of wilderness and scores of culturally significant sites. "We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts". A coalition of Native American tribes also said it would sue the Trump Administration over the reduction of the Bears Ears Monument. "I actually can not believe that we're having a debate about whether these lands are worth protecting", said Caputo. "That positive impact extends from our largest cities to the vitality of our rural communities", REI said in a statement.

In a statement Monday, Heidi McIntosh from Earthjustice's Rocky Mountains office said: "President Trump has perpetrated a awful violation of America's public lands and heritage by going after this dinosaur treasure trove". "In that light, we believe there is a compelling case to maintain the integrity of our existing national monuments". The second will reduce the size of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by another 800,000 acres, to just under half of its current size, according to fact sheets from the White House. The company cites statistics estimating that the outdoor recreation industry employs 7.6 million jobs and generates $887 million in economic activity - outpacing the jobs and spending generated by the USA fossil fuels sector.

In July, the Outdoor Industry Association also announced that Outdoor Retailer, one of the largest outdoor trade shows in the USA, will move its location to Denver next year. However, in announcing the sweeping change, the Prez said it should be up to Utah residents to decide whether the land is developed at all.

Trump, however, is defending the move wholeheartedly and expressing the benefits expected to come from it. "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 in a statement.


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