President Joe Biden to Renovate Two Huge National Monuments in Utah Center of long-running public land dispute, and a separate Marine Conservation Area in New England that has recently been used for commercial fishing.
Monuments cover vast expanses of southern Utah where red rocks evoke distinctive buttes from petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and grassy canyons. Former President Donald Trump century old Antiquities Act enacted To cut 2 million acres from the two monuments, the ban on mining and other energy production “should never have happened,” calling it a “massive land grab.”
The White House announced the changes Thursday night ahead of a ceremony on Friday.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, expressed disappointment in Biden’s decision to restore the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments, which the Trump administration significantly curtailed in 2017. He and other Republicans in Utah called it “disappointing, though not surprising.” a joint statement.
Trump’s maneuver admits that mineral extraction on land is possible sacred to the five tribes, which includes the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes.
Trump’s decision in 2017:Trump Shrinks Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments in Historic Proclamations
Trump’s Steps on National Monuments:After Bears Ears, Trump Administration Considers Making More Changes to National Monuments
Tribes and environmentalists hailed the announcement Thursday evening that affects lands in Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyon and Seamounts National Monument, as a breakthrough on an issue that has threatened the future of the Utah region for years. influenced by.
“Bear’s Years Will Be Protected! We commend the Biden Administration’s action as expected to restore security to Bear’s Year and its one-of-a-kind and sacred landscape,” the Native American Rights Fund said in a written statement Thursday.
The White House said in a statement that Biden was “fulfilmenting an important 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 protected.” is to be preserved forever and for all “people.”
Former President Barack Obama Near the end of its administration in 2016, Bears Ears expanded the federally protected area. Trump cut it down to about 200,000 acres. His administration also nearly halved Grand Staircase-Escalante, leaving it with about 1 million acres. Both monuments were erected by Democratic presidents.
Reuben Gallego, D-Ariz., who has pushed for legislation to undo Trump’s action in 2017, is scheduled to attend Biden’s signing ceremony at the White House.
“It was great to finally get it here,” said Gallego, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “It’s a very sacred and trustworthy land, and we’re going to preserve it for generations to come.”
Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, said Biden’s decision “reflects this administration’s commitment to conserving our public lands and respecting the voices of indigenous peoples. It’s time to put the cynical acts behind the scenes in the mirror.”
The Utah Republican had hoped that Biden would take action after US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited the region this summer and recommended the president reverse Trump.
The governor of Utah called Biden’s decision a “tragic missed opportunity.” In a statement issued along with other state leaders, Cox said the president’s action “fails to provide certainty as well as funding for law enforcement, research, and other protections that require monuments and which only Congress.” action may be offered.
Mitt Romney, R-Utah, similarly complained about the development, citing the need for a legislative solution.
“Still, Utah’s national monuments are being used as a political football between administrations,” Romney said on Twitter.
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Romney said, “The President missed an opportunity to build consensus by working with stakeholders to find a permanent, legislative solution to resolve the long-running dispute over the boundaries and management of monuments, giving all stakeholders a sense of certainty and profited.” Another tweet.
The White House said Biden’s action was among a series of steps taken by the administration to protect public lands and waters, including oil leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and road construction in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Preventive measures are included. The largest federal forest in the country.
But the executive action reflects an inability for the Democrat-controlled Senate to garner 60 votes to pass the Republican filibuster on any bill to more permanently protect the land. Biden’s executive action means a future president could try to reverse the security restored on Friday.
Biden’s plan restores security in the Northeast Valley and Frontier National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Cape Cod. Trump changed a rule to allow commercial fishing on the marine monument, an action that was launched by fishing groups but ridiculed by environmentalists who have sought to restore protections against fishing. Biden and Haaland were pushed for.
“This invaluable area for the delicate species that call it home” demonstrates the administration’s commitment to science and protecting marine monument safeguards, said Jane Felt, Ocean Campaign Director for the Conservation Law Foundation.
Contribution: Debra Kroll, Republic of Arizona; Kristal Hayes, USA Today; The Associated Press
On Twitter Ronald J. follow hansen @ronaldjhansen.