Biden to restore 3 national monuments cut by TrumpPresident Joe Biden will restore two sprawling national monuments in Utah that have been at the center of a long-running public lands dispute, and a separate marine conservation area in New England that recently has been used for commercial fishing. Environmental protections at all three monuments had been stripped by former President Donald Trump.
The White House announced the changes Thursday night ahead of a ceremony expected Friday.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, expressed disappointment in Biden’s decision to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments, which the Trump administration downsized significantly in 2017.
The monuments cover vast expanses of southern Utah where red rocks reveal petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and distinctive buttes bulge from a grassy valley. Trump invoked the century-old Antiquities Act to cut 800,000 hectares from the two monuments, calling restrictions on mining and other energy production a massive land grab that should never have happened.
His actions cut Bears Ears, on lands considered sacred to Native American tribes, by 85 per cent, to just over 80,900 hectares. They slashed Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half, leaving it at about 405,000 hectares. Both monuments were created by Democratic presidents.
The White House said in a statement Thursday night that Biden was fulfilling a key promise to restore the monuments to their full size and “upholding the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments and other protected areas are to be protected for all time and for all people.”