NATIONAL NEWS

Biden undoes Trump’s cuts to Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, also restores monument off coast

Oct 8, 2021, 1:28 PM | Updated: Aug 14, 2023, 8:54 pm

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)...

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Friday announced the expansion of three national monuments — Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine — in a move that restored protections that had been undone by then-President Donald Trump.

“This may be the easiest thing I’ve ever done as president, so far,” Biden said ahead of making the announcement.

The White House previewed the move in a fact sheet released Thursday night. The Utah monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, have been on Biden’s agenda since his first day in office, when he ordered a review of their boundaries and conditions.

Bear Ears National Monument will be restored to 1.36 million acres and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be restored to 1.87 million acres, according to the fact sheet. Additionally, protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument off the coast of New England, as established under then-President Barack Obama, will be restored.

“I’m grateful to the tribal nation leaders, both those who are here with us today and those unable to join us. Today I’m proud to announce the protection and expansion of three of the most treasured national monuments, our most treasured, based on powers granted to the President on the Antiquities Act first used more than a century ago by Teddy Roosevelt,” Biden said.

“The truth is that National monuments and parks are part of the identity, our identity as a people,” the President added. “They are more than natural wonders, they’re the birthright we passed from generation to generation, a birthright of every American. Preserving them is the fulfillment of a promise to our children.”

Biden said his move to protect national monuments also ties to his administration’s climate agenda.

“We’re not only saving birds and fish and the livelihoods of people who depend on them, we’re also shoring up the natural defenses to absorb the fury of hurricanes and superstorms,” Biden said. “Nearly one-in-three Americans live in a community that has been struck by weather disasters just in the last few months — hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, heat waves — both the Build Back Better plan and my bipartisan infrastructure bill make critical investments, significantly increasing the resilience of these devastating effects on the climate crisis.”

The decision marks a reversal of Trump administration policy that shrank the Bears Ears monument, which Obama established, by 85%, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, which then-President Bill Clinton designated, by roughly 45%.

The two former Democratic presidents designated the Utah monuments for protection hoping to preserve their culture, history and natural beauty. While announcing his policy in 2017, Trump slammed what he called “federal overreach” and said past administrations thought “the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They are wrong.”


Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday in a critical statement that he had been informed of the decision to expand the monuments’ size by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

“The President’s decision to enlarge the monuments again is a tragic missed opportunity — it fails to provide certainty as well as the funding for law enforcement, research, and other protections which the monuments need and which only Congressional action can offer,” Cox said.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah also criticized the move, saying Thursday on Twitter that his state’s national monuments are being used as a “political football.”

“The decision to re-expand the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante is a devastating blow to our state, local, and tribal leaders and our delegation,” Romney said. “The President squandered the opportunity to build consensus by working with stakeholders to find a permanent, legislative solution to resolve the longstanding dispute over the monuments’ boundaries & management, which would’ve brought certainty to and benefited all stakeholders.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

metal container with slides frozen in the bottom...

Laura Ungar, Science Writer

How Alabama court ruling that frozen embryos are children could affect IVF

The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. This is raising concerns about how the decision could affect in vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF.

5 hours ago

FILE...

Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Seattle officer who struck and killed graduate student from India won’t face felony charges

Prosecutors in Washington state said Wednesday they will not file felony charges against a Seattle police officer who struck and killed a graduate student from India while responding to an overdose call.

7 hours ago

In this screen grab from lapel camera video provided by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, movie...

Associated Press

Jury selection begins for trial of ‘Rust’ armorer in fatal 2021 shooting by Alec Baldwin

Prosecutors are pursuing accountability in the 2021 death of a cinematographer who was shot by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal for the Western movie “Rust."

7 hours ago

An Indian Space Research Organisation rocket carrying the Chandrayaan-3 moon lander lifts off from ...

Kristin Fisher and Jackie Wattles, CNN

Why it’s so difficult to land on the moon, even five decades after Apollo

Hundreds of thousands of miles beyond Earth, a phone booth-size spacecraft is en route to take on a challenge no vehicle launched from the United States has attempted in more than 50 years.

7 hours ago

FILE - MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell talks to reporters at the Republican National Committe...

Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

Federal judge affirms MyPillow’s Mike Lindell must pay $5M in election data dispute

A federal judge has affirmed a $5 million arbitration award against MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell.

7 hours ago

Several dog owners in Las Vegas are accusing a groomer of mistreating their pets. (KTNV)...

Alyssa Bethencourt, CNN

Owner claims dog was paralyzed at Las Vegas grooming shop, others come forward with similar claims

Several dog owners in Las Vegas are accusing a groomer of mistreating their pets.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Biden undoes Trump’s cuts to Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, also restores monument off coast