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Trump Shrinking Utah National Monuments

by Countable | 12.5.17

UPDATE – December 5, 2017: Making good on their threats, a coalition of Native American tribes and conservation groups have filed lawsuits over President Donald Trump’s decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah.

“Through the Antiquities Act, Congress delegated to the president the limited authority to designate national monuments and retained to itself the power to revoke or modify national monuments,” the tribes wrote in a statement about Bears Ears National Monument.

“The proclamation signed by President Trump today is so extreme that it revokes and replaces Bears Ears and thereby violates the Antiquities Act and seizes authority that the Constitution vests solely in Congress.”

The lawsuits are joined by protests by a number of outdoor retailers, including Patagonia, which tweeted:

Countable’s original story appears below.

What’s the story?

President Donald Trump is in Utah today where he’s expected to announce a 77 to 92 percent reduction of Bears Ear National Monument.

Why does it matter?

The Trump administration, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, have been pushing for fewer restrictions and more development on national monuments—including drilling and mining.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, has pressed Trump to either eliminate or shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. He called the President’s decision a "win for everyone."

But conservationists and Native Americans don’t consider it a victory. Both groups have said any changes would violate the 1906 Antiquities Act, and have vowed to take legal action.

"We will stand and fight all the way," said Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation. “We have suffered enough.”

What do you think?

Additional national monuments are on the chopping-down block. Should the federal government open up lands previously protected under national monument designation for energy development, like drilling and mining? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: John Fowler via Flickr / Creative Commons)

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(138)
  • Donna
    12/04/2017
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    ENOUGH ALREADY. Corporations and big money interests DO NOT OWN OR RUN THIS COUNTRY. I have had enough of the current administration screwing the American people in favor of his greedy, corrupt, soulless buddies back on Wall Street. Not everything is about MONEY! These are PUBLIC lands and have been for longer than this Administration has been in office. These sites are called NATIONAL MONUMENTS because they belong to the nation, not the corporations chomping at the bit to increase their bottom line above and beyond the disgusting tax cut they are about to get. Someone needs to stop the raping and pillaging of America for the sake of the freaking dollar. We the people have had more than enough. This Administration needs to be reined in before there is no nation left for Congress to pretend to govern.

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  • John
    12/04/2017
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    While I’m a big believer in capitalism and the free market system, I don’t believe that public lands, which belong to all Americans, should be exploited for the economic gain of the few. That’s what private land property is for. Public land should be for everyone.

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  • Heather
    12/05/2017
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    This is despicable! The fact that Trump can do this without any voting or input from the people is disgusting. Public lands are shared amongst all American citizens, and the fact that corporations can lobby the president to release those lands to commercial drilling and development prospects shows that there is deep corruption in the White House. I do not know how we could put a stop to this, but as somebody who loves the outdoors and understands the deep heritage of public lands particularly in relation to Native American history, please help us, the American People, to put a stop to this.

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  • Scott
    12/05/2017
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    This is absolutely unacceptable. Please, for the love of this country and its future generations, protect our national monuments, parks, and all of this country's immensely beautiful public lands.

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  • Devan
    12/05/2017
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    It’s truly disheartening to think that my representatives (although you aren’t the ones I voted for) would be for something of this nature. Utah is a truly beautiful and wondrous place that everyone should get to enjoy for generations to come. This is the first step in destroying our beautiful state, and it is all in the name of profits. Some things should be valued above money and our national parks and monuments should be one of them. How can you in good consciousness believe this is the right thing to do. It only opens the door for people(read: corporations) to move in and desecrate these beautiful, natural landscapes. You say it’s to decrease the amount federal control that exists within our state but maybe these things need these types of protections because we apparently can’t be trusted to take care of them ourselves. I wholeheartedly wish that you all would take stands against these types of actions but knowing your party and your track records I may as well be pissing in the wind. Thanks for stealing our public land and selling it to the highest bidder.

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  • Holly
    12/04/2017
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    This is not acceptable. Do not allow this asshole to demolish any more of the natural landscape. Please stop this nightmare

    Like (17)
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  • Luke
    12/04/2017
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    Enough of this, Utah houses beautiful natural wonders that are being threatened by big business. A country that destroys its forests and lands destroys itself.

    Like (13)
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  • Jan
    12/05/2017
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    Once again we are forced to stand powerless as the 1% take away something beautiful and destroy it for their own selfish greed. It is unfathomable to me how Republican Senators can carry on supporting this despicable agenda! Have they no shame? The will of the people means nothing? Apparently so. Shrinking these monuments will destroy a beautiful part of this country, decimate the tourist industry and put many people out of work. Shameful!

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  • Jane
    12/04/2017
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    I hate this! America has some stunning parks. We should keep them pristine!

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  • Bahar
    12/04/2017
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    This is disgusting. We’re in an age of awareness and the politicians who are greedy and line their own pockets instead of fighting for their constituents will be voted out. Period. Pack your bags, because we won’t stand for it anymore.

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  • Althena
    12/04/2017
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    You guys are letting corporations rape this country. There will be nothing left for your grandchildren. You should be more than ashamed. You’re unworthy of public office. Our congress no longer works for the people, we are your cattle and as an individual hat recognizes the value in all sentience, I am disgusted to watch your “progress.” We don’t need fictional villains because these elected officials are the most heinous and shallow of the bunch. When there is no more clean air, water, or freedom will you be satisfied? How much money are you paid to completely ignore the will of the masses? How long do you expect us to sit aside as this fascism grows? This isn’t a free country any longer and every day we are being pushed closer and closer to disaster. Do you all ever read beyond the circle jerk of self appointed praise?Over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries this month stated the following: we have less than 100 years of habitable planet left if we do not stop our dependence on oil, if we do not stop our extensive and unsustainable propagation of human populace. We must also stop the consumption of animals. Cancer cancer cancer. Your lobbyists get the American population coming and going. Hell is not a place to perhaps observe in time- it is here and now.

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  • Sylvia
    12/04/2017
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    These are PUBLIC lands and belong to all people of this country. They should be preserved for future generations to enjoy, not used to further line the pockets of dirty energy corporations. Tax dollars pay to KEEP these monuments FREE FROM PLUNDER. Shame on anyone who votes for corporate profits over public interests.

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  • Rebecca
    12/04/2017
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    All presidents prior to Trump have improved our country by growing our protected lands. Trump’s shortsighted pettiness in undoing the Obama administration’s work seems to know no bounds! I ask my elected officials to work to protect our natural areas and monuments, and out nation’a future!

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  • Patrick
    12/05/2017
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    This country is not a dictatorship! You are allowing the President to do things that are illegal and not within his ability in this office. You need to put you foot down as our representatives and tell him no.

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  • Linda
    12/04/2017
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    Congress needs to make clear that it permitted a president only to designate land as a national monument not unilaterally remove land from that designation. This grab by Trump on behalf of the fossil fuel and meat industries will otherwise wind up in the courts and will cost taxpayers money we no longer have thanks to the big giveaway to the rich that was recently passed through the Congress.

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  • Marylynn
    12/04/2017
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    This administration won't stop until they've undone every regulation that was put in place by President Obama. It's the Liar in Chief's way of increasing his wealth and that of his cronies. How many of them own stock in oil and other utilities. It's obvious that he doesn't care about the destruction his actions will cause. I just don't understand how anyone can support what he's doing.

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  • William
    12/04/2017
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    I simply do not understand why our congressmen are allowing trump to rape and pillage OUR country. IT TRULY APPEARS MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL !!!! We, the common people simply don’t matter!!! Democracy is almost dead in this country thanks to trump!!!! Trump - impeachment or Amendment 25 , Section 4, NOW!!!!

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  • Kathy
    12/05/2017
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    Trump needs the demented Hatch to complete his evil empire. Hatch wants another term (his 8th) and 3 out of 4 Utahans think he should not run again so he and Trump are scratching each other’s backsides. It’s as disgusting and politically-motivated as I’ve ever seen. None of them care a damn about integrity or representing the citizens.

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  • RadicalModerate
    12/05/2017
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    Free market capitalism is destroying our planet.

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  • Deborah
    12/04/2017
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    This attempt to shrink our monuments is illegal -- for now. But Trump's buddies in Congress are trying to pass legislation that would give him authority to sell off public lands at will. Bills like Rob Bishop's H.R. 3990 would give the president sweeping power to reduce the boundaries of our national monuments. Trump's land grab will result in the destruction of some of our most prized archaeological sites --– sites that are sacred to Native American communities. It will also deal a huge blow to local economies that rely on the jobs and income generated by outdoor recreation. What can we do this is just horrible he is destroying history without thoughts! Can we as citizenship something?

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