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Supporters, Opponents React To Plans For Shrunken National Monuments in Utah

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Judy Fahys
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KUER News
Areas like this, which contain small, hidden archaeological sites rather than big, showy ones, are likely to be cut out of the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument. Some people think that's a good idea. Others don't.

President Donald Trump told Utah leaders Friday he’s going to shrink the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah. Supporters and opponents of the move are already stepping up to make their views known.

Conservation groups are planning protests to fight any size reductions for Bears Ears or the Grand Staircase National Monument.

And then there’s Bears Ears Commission, the tribal panel established along with the monument to help manage the sacred lands. Commissioners are calling the White House announcement “appalling” and vowing to stay on the job until a court tells them to stop.

Meanwhile, a local group called the Stewards of San Juan County is circulating an open letter supporting Trump’s plans. It’s already got hundreds of signatures from people who say the land doesn’t need monument status, because it’s already protected by existing law.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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