The president is on his way to Utah Monday morning to deliver a speech at the state capitol in Salt Lake City. He is expected to announce the reduction in size of two national monuments which include millions of acres of sacred Native American land. The speech is set for around noon, Pacific time.
The two parks, Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, were designated by President Obama in 2016 and President Clinton in 1996, respectively. President Trump’s decision will allow local hunters and cattle to graze and hunt in the area. San Juan County, Utah is one of the poorest in the nation and it is now more than 90% off limits for economic use by locals.
“We’re going to Utah â€” we’re going to be doing something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years,” Trump told reporters this morning before leaving. “It will be one of the great, really, events in this country for a long time. So important for states’ rights and so important for the people of Utah â€” and I know a lot of you will be coming with me, we’ll have a lot of time to talk.”
Air Force One took off with Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke early this morning.
President Trump said the action is a victory for “states rights,” but it is opposed by many environmental and humanitarian groups who argue the land should be preserved:
Via New Mexico Wildlife Federation: “This November, NMWF led a group of roughly 30 spiritual and faith leaders to learn from Native communities about the importance of Bears Ears National Monument and to stand in solidarity with their continued efforts to protect what they hold sacred. The current administration may seek to reduce this monument by 80-90%, which would not only erase protections for cultural sites, but threaten critical wildlife habitat for big game species as well!” …read more