President Trump is set to announce a plan to shrink the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah: Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monument, the latter created by President Obama one year ago this month. Trump’s action will mark an important milestone in the story of these two red buttes which has become an outsized symbol for a slew of western issues.
The Department of the Interior is outlining steps aimed at increasing energy production on federal lands. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says boosting production of resources like oil and gas creates jobs and enhances the nation’s energy security. It’s another pro-industry headline for a secretary touting himself as not only an avid outdoorsman, but a follower of the conservation ideals of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. If the manager of most of our federal lands is going find inspiration from someone, it would be hard to find a more appropriate muse. “Roosevelt is generally regarded as the father of the modern conservation movement,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “When he was President, he set aside somewhere around like 230 million acres of public lands for the future of people forever.”
That land area is larger than the states of Texas and Wyoming combined.
President Trump has ordered a review of national monuments designated by former presidents over the past two decades. Clearly in the cross-hairs is the Bear’s Ears National Monument, created by President Obama in December of 2016. That monument was widely opposed by Utah politicians and they are asking President Trump to rescind the designation or shrink the monument size.
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