President Donald Trump traveled to Utah Monday, where he announced plans for the largest rollback of federal land protection in U.S. history. The plan calls for shrinking the 1.3 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument by 80 percent and splitting it into two separate areas. Trump would also slash the state’s 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent. The national monuments were designated under the century-old Antiquities Act, a law meant to protect sacred sites, artifacts and historical objects. Trump criticized the law on Monday.
President Donald Trump: “Your timeless bond with the outdoors should not be replaced with the whims of regulators thousands and thousands of miles away. They don’t know your land. And truly, they don’t care for your land like you do. But from now on, that won’t matter. I’ve come to Utah to take a very historic action to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens.”
Trump’s move drew outrage among environmentalists, thousands of whom marched Monday through the streets of Salt Lake City, where riot police held them back from a meeting between President Trump and leaders of the Mormon Church. The protests came as five Native American tribes filed suit against President Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and several other officials in a bid to halt the rollback. We’ll have more on the fight over national monuments later in the broadcast.