Two large national monuments in southern Utah have been reduced by approximately two million acres after President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on December 4.
“Families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best. You know the best how to take care of your land. You know how to protect it and you know best how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come,” president Trump said during a speech at the Utah Capitol building.
Bears Ears National Monument will go from 1.35 million acres to just 228,784 acres, a reduction of 83% in size. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was reduced from 1.88 million acres to 1,006,341 acres, a drop of 46.5% in acreage.
Both monuments were protected by the Antiquities Act of 1906, a law allowing presidents to grant federal protection for federal lands. President Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to proclaim a national monument for Devils Tower National Monument on September 24, 1906.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated as a national monument by former President Bill Clinton in 1996. Bears Ears National Monument was put into monument protection by President Barrack Obama during on Dec. 28, 2016, his last month in office.
“These abuses of the Antiquities Act give enormous power to far-away bureaucrats at the expense of the people who live here and work here and make this place their home,” Trump said.
Trump shared with the crowd during the announcement that local people have been negatively impacted by monument proclamations.
“We have seen harmful and unnecessarily restrictions on hunting, ranching and responsible economic development. We have seen grazing restrictions prevent ranching families from passing their businesses and beloved heritage onto the children, the children they love,” Trump said.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council both supported the action by President Trump.
“Previous administrations abused the power of the Antiquities Act, designating huge swaths of land as national monuments without any public input or review,” said Dave Eliason, president of the Public Lands Council. “Rural communities in Utah and across the West have paid the price. Sweeping designations locked up millions of acres of land with the stroke of a pen, undermining local knowledge and decimating rural economies.”
“We are grateful that today’s action will allow ranchers to resume their role as responsible stewards of the land and drivers of rural economies,” said Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Going forward, it is critical that we reform the Antiquities Act to ensure that those whose livelihoods and communities depend on the land have a voice in federal land management decisions.”
To view the full speech by President Trump watch the video below: