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President Trump orders massive reduction in size of two national monuments

President Donald Trump has ordered to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in what might be the largest national monument reduction in American history. The 1.4 million acre Bears Ears monument will be scaled back to around 220,000 acres and the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument will be scaled to around 1 million acres. Both monuments were originally established under the 1906 Antiquities Act

While appearing at Salt Lake City to make the announcement, Trump discussed how he felt that the land was in the power of "faraway bureaucrats" and that the reduction would put the land into the hands of Utah's people. In addition, Republican lawmakers feared that previous protections over the land halted energy development and animal grazing.

Trump's decision had met with opposition with environmentalist groups, as the change has already been challenged in court with a lawsuit from ten conservationist groups. These groups argue that the law allows the president to establish landmarks, but not reduce or abolish them. In addition, further opposition is expected from Native American groups who live in the area and help manage the monuments.

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