Biden to expand two national monuments downsized by Trump

National News

A section of ancient dwellings are seen during U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s tour along the Butler Wash trail at Bears Ears National Monument Thursday, April 8, 2021, near Blanding, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — President Joe Biden will expand two sprawling national monuments in Utah, the governor said Thursday.

President Donald Trump’s administration in 2017 significantly downsized Bears Ears National Monuments and Grand Staircase-Escalante in southern Utah.

A section of ancient dwellings are seen during U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s tour along the Butler Wash trail at Bears Ears National Monument Thursday, April 8, 2021, near Blanding, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

The cuts were decried by environmental and tribal groups who sued to reverse them, while conservative state leaders considered the size of both monuments U.S. government overreach and applauded the move.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday expressed disappointment in the decision to expand the monuments’ boundaries.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Indigenous Cabinet secretary, traveled to Utah in April to visit the monuments, becoming the latest federal official to step into what has been a yearslong public lands tug-of-war.

(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)

Bears Ears National Monument on lands considered sacred to Native Americans was downsized by 85%, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was cut by nearly half under Trump.

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