President Trump to shrink Bears Ears National Monument

By Glen Mills - Good4Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – A major development in the battle over public lands in Utah, and it comes in the form of a phone call from the President of the United States.

President Trump personally called Senator Orrin Hatch to tell him he will be shrinking Bears Ears. Monument supporters say they'll take it to court.

As part of his National Monument Review, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended shrinking Bears Ears.

Friday, the President confirmed his intention to do just that.

"He told me he is going to do Bears Ears the way I suggested they do it. Which means we will have a monument there, but it will be, it won't be so large that it ties up all the land," said Hatch, (R) Utah.

Senator Hatch won't say how much the 1.3 million-acre monument will be shrunk, but he says it will be substantial and he will support whatever the President goes with.

Hatch says this is a big victory for Utah.

"What I was unhappy with are all these outside groups coming in, and telling Utah what they have to do and not listening to the voices of Utah," Hatch said.

There are Utah voices that support the monument as it is. State Senator Jim Dabakis is one of them.

"This is a disgraceful day for Utah, and Utah's Congressional Delegation, because they are pushing it. The President wouldn't have a clue where Bears Ears is," said Dabakis, (D) Salt Lake City.

Dabakis says it's a war on public lands, motivated by business.

"What our Congressional Delegation just did is sell out the outdoors people of the state of Utah for the sake of a 19th Century industry, the coal industry," Dabakis said.

Monument supporters have already said they will take legal action. Hatch says bring it on.

"They can do whatever they want to, but they'll lose, because the President is doing a reasonably, responsible way of doing it," said Hatch.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante is also under review. Hatch says he doesn't expect sweeping changes there, but he believes access will be granted to coal reserves in the area.

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