In Utah, Trump Announces Dramatic Decreases In Size To State's National Monuments

Mayor Jackie Biskupski embraces one of her children after delivering her speech.- ENRIQUE LIMÓN

Mayor Jackie Biskupski embraces one of her children after delivering her speech.- ENRIQUE LIMÓN

Sporting goods retailer Patagonia and a coalition of conservationists have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for his decision to shrink two Utah national monuments.

But the wilderness groups say Trump needs to bone up on the Antiquities Act.

Also Monday, another lawsuit filed by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) challenges the proclamation that takes away about 85 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument, also in Utah.

In a statement Monday, NARF said: "President Trump's action to revoke and replace the Bears Ears National Monument is not only an attack on the five sovereign nations with deep ties to the Bears Ears region, it is a complete violation of the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution".

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The Navajo Nation also issued a statement on Monday that read, "The decision disrespects Native Americans across the country by acting against the Antiquities Act, which has been used countless times since 1906 to protect Native American heritage". "We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts". "This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history".

Patagonia's argument for preserving public lands is as much an economic argument as it is an environmental and moral one. No president has ever revoked and replaced a national monument before because it is not legal to do so.

In a statement Monday, Heidi McIntosh from Earthjustice's Rocky Mountains office said: "President Trump has perpetrated a bad violation of America's public lands and heritage by going after this dinosaur treasure trove". "They're not sort of valuable lands, they're among the most valuable lands in the federal system and they belong to all of us". 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. On Tuesday, the Outdoor Retail Association said the decision ignores the public's desire to protect national monuments and reduces the economic potential for the USA outdoors industry. The company also expressed the potential damage the move could do to the outdoor recreation economy, which now contributes a whopping 7.6 million jobs and $887 billion in annual consumer spending, not to mention the public's access to public lands. OIA said the move will enable industry members to come together to protect public lands and boost the USA outdoor industry's economy moving forward. 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. We will not let this stand.

Trump, however, is defending the move wholeheartedly and expressing the benefits expected to come from it. And we'll use every tool available and we will prevail. "Public lands will once again be for public use because we know that people who are free to use their land and enjoy their land are the people most determined to conserve their land".

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