The two monuments were created by Democrats Barack Obama and Bill Clinton under a century-old law that allows presidents to protect sites considered historically, geographically or culturally important.
With President Donald Trump's decision on Monday to remove over 2 million acres of land from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, three lawsuits have already been filed in response to the presidential proclamation.
"Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration's unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments", Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement, according to AdAge. Using the same reasoning as for reducing the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Trump wants to cut down the approximately 1.35 million acres, designated as federally protected land by former President Barack Obama on December 28, 2016, by over 1.15 million acres, down to only 201,876 acres.
The tribes point to a federal lands law from the 1970s that says only Congress can actually reduce or nullify a national monument. He reduced by 85 percent the 1.5 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, which is dedicated to Native American culture and cut in half the Grand Staircase Escalante.
"It's an attack on all of our National Monuments, an attack on one in an attack on all, so we want to come out here and stand in solidarity of protection of our national treasures", Gabriel Otoro, organizer of the rally, said.
In a statement Monday, Heidi McIntosh from Earthjustice's Rocky Mountains office said: "President Trump has perpetrated a bad violation of America's public lands and heritage by going after this dinosaur treasure trove". "We know how to fight and we will fight to defend Bears Ears", Filfred said.
Previous presidents have made small reductions to monument boundaries, but never until yesterday had one used the Antiquities Act to so dramatically shrink them.
Patagonia says it will sue President Trump after he reduced the size of two monuments in Utah
Zinke also has recommended allowing logging at a newly designated monument in ME and urges more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.
Zinke said Tuesday he would focus changes in Gold Butte on the site's water districts. "And the Antiquities Act was never meant to prevent, it was meant to protect".
As we've said from the beginning of President Trump's executive order to have Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke review 27 national monuments, it looks like this is all going to end up in the legal system for the conservation approach of this country to ultimately be decided by judges. He also calls for a new assessment of border-safety risks at a monument in southern New Mexico.
But Zinke said he will also recommend changes to a handful of other monuments.
Zinke told reporters the land targeted by Trump remains protected because it is still under federal control.
People held signs as cheers and boos ran throughout the park. The President's move was met with protests in Utah and in San Francisco by environmentalists and some Native Americans.
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