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Patagonia slams Interior chief Ryan Zinke's monument downsizing, alleges Trump land grab

Patagonia slams Interior chief Ryan Zinke's monument downsizing, alleges Trump land grab”

Environmental and tribal groups say the designations are needed to protect important archaeological and cultural resources.

"Americans from across the nation should be outraged by President Trump's unlawful attempt to eviscerate the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, one of our country's wildest and most scientifically significant federal public landscapes", said Stephen Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Utah's largest conservation organization. The suit, which is likely to provoke a prolonged court battle, claims Trump can not legally revoke the land's monument status. A coalition of American Indian tribes plans to sue over that decision. The lawsuit argues that Trump exceeded his authority by overturning congressional legislation that added land to the monument after Clinton's initial declaration.

"Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington, and guess what: They're wrong", Trump said Monday in Utah. "They're trying to take away our history", Trump said at an rally.

Roughly 3,000 demonstrators lined up near the State Capitol to protest President Trump's announcement. And they urge the rest of us to do the same.

Trump has said presidents have abused the act by putting unnecessarily big chunks of territory off limits to drilling, mining, grazing, road traffic and other activities.

Past presidents have trimmed national monuments and redrawn their boundaries 18 times, according to the National Park Service.

Speaking in Salt Lake City Monday, Trumps said the move reverses "federal overreach" and will return control of land to local authorities and citizens.

The monument designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996 was almost 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers).

President Bill Clinton protected the lands of Grand Staircase as a national monument on September 18, 1996 using the Antiquities Act, a century-old law that has been used by 16 presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to protect some of our nation's most cherished landscapes and cultural heritage.

"I've become an expert in monuments", President Trump's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said at the Utah capitol Monday.

The reasoning behind the move is to designate as protected "the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects of scientific or historic interest", and the proclamation also opens the newly public lands to "disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing; and location, entry, and patent under the mining laws". Suzanne Catlett, the president of the Escalante-Boulder Chamber of Commerce said local voices like theirs need to be included in the conversation. Signed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, it was meant to stop the pilfering of ancient Indian artifacts from public land.

Mr Trump called the Bears Ears National Monument, which covers 1.3 million acres and was created in 2016 by Mr Obama, to be cut to...

At a White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers last week, he took a political jab at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling her "Pocahontas".

President Trump signed an executive order in April directing Zinke to review the protections.

Unlike national parks, which can only be created by an act of Congress, national monuments can be designated unilaterally by presidents under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which is meant to protect sacred sites, artefacts and historical objects. It earned him cheers from Republican leaders in Utah who lobbied him to undo protections by Democratic presidents that they considered overly broad.

Zinke also has recommended allowing logging at a newly designated monument in ME and urges more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.



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