Ever since he took office, Donald Trump has been systematically destroying the legacy of Barack Hussein Obama. This week, he took yet another shot at Obama when he signed a pair of executive orders to significantly shrink two of Utah’s national monuments, Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante, that were created by his Democratic predecessors, Obama and Bill Clinton.
Fox News reported that Trump pitched this as a victory for state’s rights. It came after an April review conducted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on the boundaries of large national monuments. Trump’s order will cut Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante in half, and it is likely to trigger a legal battle that could alter the government’s approach to conservation.
“I know you love this land the best and you know how to protect it and you know how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come,” Trump told a group of people at Utah’s Capitol in Salt Lake City. “They don’t know your land. They don’t care for your land like you do.”
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah praised the order, saying that Trump is giving the people of Utah “a voice in the process.” Zinke also spoke out to say that the move should be seen as correcting an overreach by the federal government.
“We’re not taking one square inch of federal land and transferring it or selling it. It is still federal land, with all the protections of federal land,” Zinke said, adding that the biggest change is that the government is “allowing greater use on the areas that were previously in the monument.”
Liberals, however, are furious about this move and claim that it is the latest example of the government breaking promises to Native American tribes and eroding protections for public land. Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who was instrumental in designating Bears Ears monument, took to Twitter to say that Trump’s orders, “will make him the most anti-conservation president in our history. He will be challenged by tribes and thoughtful citizens that recognize that some places are too special to develop.”
Pres. Trump’s expected actions today will make him the most anti-conservation, president in our history. He will be challenged by tribes and thoughtful citizens that recognize that some places are too special to develop. https://t.co/92XNaAQ3H2
— Sally Jewell (@sallyjewell) December 4, 2017
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