Trump to shrink Bears Ears National Monument, visit Utah

by Brian Mullahy, KUTV

(KUTV) President Trump will shrink the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, and visit Utah to talk more about his decision.

The developments did not come in a tweet on Friday, but rather in a phone call with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, and in a White House press briefing.

"He said I'm going to do what you asked me to do on Bears Ears," Hatch recounted, after the presidential phone call.

"How much smaller will the monument be?" 2News asked.

"I don't know, " Hatch replied. "It's up to the president."

Hatch said he's not against the monument---set aside by former President Obama---but is opposed to its "gargantuan" size.

"If I had my way, it would be a lot smaller," said Hatch.

San Juan County commissioners said they were "thrilled" their voices were heard by the president.

Others had a much different reaction.

"Any attempt to alter the Bears Ears National Monument would be illegal and wrong on every count," said a Facebook post by the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition.

State Senator Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said the decision "strangled the golden goose of Utah's future jobs--the outdoor industry."

Supporters and detractors of the president's plan may get the chance to press their case, when he visits sometime within the next two months.

"I can tell you that he will be going to Utah in the first part of December," said a White House spokesperson.

A staffer for Senator Hatch said it will be a visit focused on public lands.

"This is to continue the discussion about Bears Ears," said Matt Whitlock, Hatch aide, of the president's trip, "and his own confirmation of Secretary Zinke's recommendation."

Read the full story and see photos here