Trump outlines land reduction in Utah monuments, tribes prepare to sue


The Colorado River winds around the northern reaches of the proposed Bear Ears National Monument, with Canyonlands National Park in the background, viewed from Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab, Utah on November 12, 2016.

President Trump will on Monday announce plans to slash the size of two United States national parks, provoking fury from environmentalists, native american tribes and conservationists.

REI changed its homepage to feature a large photo of Bears Ears National Monument with the words "We ❤ Our Public Lands" written across it.

But the wilderness groups say Trump needs to bone up on the Antiquities Act.

"It's just another slap in the face for a lot of us, a lot of our Native American brothers and sisters", Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said. Until we see what the president will sign, this fight is not over, and New Mexicans should keep calling and writing and making their voices heard. The two national monuments are among 27 that Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review earlier this year.

Utah Republican leaders had complained that the monuments locked up too much federal land.

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Another decision made by President Donald Trump is being taken to court.

Also Monday, another lawsuit filed by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) challenges the proclamation that takes away about 85 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument, also in Utah. Patagonia said the move was "illegal" and constituted the "largest elimination of protected land in American history". But it's not clear whether this is something that Trump can even do: The courts have never ruled on whether the president actually has the power to shrink a national monument.

"Reducing the size of monument would help free up a lot of land that has been under oppression", said Mike Noel, a state representative from Kane County, more than half of which is occupied by Grand Staircase.

Critics say Trump is merely opening up the land so miners and frackers can snatch it up.

Zinke said the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument straddling the border of OR and California and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada were both too big and should be reduced in size. No president has ever revoked and replaced a national monument before because it is not legal to do so. The law gives presidents broad authority to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

Zinke is also proposing Trump create three monuments: at Camp Nelson, an 1863 Union Army site in Kentucky; the Jackson, Mississippi home of civil rights leader Medgar Evers; and the Badger II Medicine Area, a 130,000-acre section of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in his home state of Montana.