Trump to Announce Dramatic National Monument Reductions in Utah Monday

Dec 4, 2017

Utah has long stood out for going far beyond other western states in trying to get back control of its federally protected lands.

The 1.8 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalate National Monument was designated in 1996 by Pres. Clinton. Pres. Trump is reported to be reducing it by half along with shrinking Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent.

Many states in the west occasionally chafe under the thumb of the federal government. But none has been as eager for Washington to reduce protected lands as Utah.

President Donald Trump is expected to shrink two national monuments in the state during a visit Monday.

That's the sort of move anathema to even other conservative western states. But the dynamic is different in Utah because of its geography and history.

It has the second-highest percent of federally owned land in the Lower 48. And it was settled by Mormons fleeing 19th century violence who thought they needed to control the land and its economy to protect themselves.