Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument | KUER 90.1

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Photo of the Jordan River.
Brian Albers / KUER

Friday evening, Feb. 14, 2020

Photo of two people looking out at a vista.
Bureau of Land Management

Listen to this story here.

After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
KUER File Photo

Updated 11:33 a.m. MST 2/15/2020

The recently released management plans for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, already slammed by tribes and environmentalists, may also violate federal law, according to a new law review article by two University of Utah researchers. 

A field of sagebrush glows in the morning light. A mesa rises in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

Listen to the story here.

KANAB — As the debate over public lands management intensifies under the Trump administration, Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears have become household names. 

Photo of a man hiking
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Southern Utah’s red rock desert is home to towering canyons and the clear, shallow Escalante River. It’s also home to many ancient petroglyphs. Jonathan Paklaian is trying to find one along the banks of the river. He scrambles along a cliff wall until he spots it — a petroglyph he says was drawn more than 800 years ago by the Indigenous Fremont people. 

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
KUER File Photo

Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
Erik Neumann

Legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments may move forward, now that a federal judge has denied the Trump Administration’s requests that the cases be dismissed. 

Photo of Pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Bureau of Land Management

Environmental groups have halted a controversial plan to cut down 30,000 acres of forest within southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Interior Board of Appeals ruled Monday that the Bureau of Land Management’s plan failed to consider its effects on migratory birds. 

Photo of William Perry Pendley.
U.S. Department of the Interior

The newly-minted head of the Bureau of Land Management is defending himself after attracting the ire of environmental groups. They are concerned about potential conflicts of interest and his views on public lands. 

Photo of Grand Staircase-Escalante.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

Public lands that used to be a part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah will lose many of their environmental protections, according to a final federal government management plan released Friday.

Photo of Grand Staircase.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

The Trump administration is responsible for the largest reduction of federally protected land in U.S. history after it shrunk two national monuments in Utah, according to a recent study published in the journal Science.

Photo of U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing 3/13/19.
Screenshot U.S. House of Representatives

The power struggle over the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments continued Thursday in Washington, as supporters and opponents told their stories during a hearing about the impact of the Trump administration’s decision to shrink the monuments.

Photo of U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva
Judy Fahys / KUER News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The new chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee said he expects Congress to investigate the Trump administration’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in southern Utah.

Photo of Mark Austin.
Cory Dinter / KUER

ESCALANTE — The Highway 12 corridor between Escalante and Boulder, a sweeping landscape of wind-carved and uplifted redrock, has been Mark Austin’s entrepreneurial workshop for nearly half a century.

Picture of two people enjoying a vista.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said Thursday that Congress will not pass his bill this year on managing public land in the original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Photo of Cedar Mesa.
Judy Fahys / KUER

A judge ruled Monday that a federal court in Washington, D.C. — not Salt Lake City — will decide whether it was legal for the Trump administration to shrink two national monuments in southern Utah.

U.S. Department of Interior

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management appears to be backing away from proposals that could call for selling land parcels removed from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument after agency officials realized the Interior Secretary objects to selling former monument lands.

Howard Berkes / NPR

The Bureau of Land Management has issued draft proposals outlining the uses the federal government wants to allow in the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in southern Utah.

Public lands have been in the news a lot this year. They comprise much of the Mountain West, from around 30 percent of land in Montana and Colorado to more than 60 percent in Utah and Idaho. This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.

Courtesy: Colton Hoyt

A Canadian mining company’s recently filed claims to mine in what was once protected public land has triggered new legal questions this week over the Trump administration’s downsizing of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

 

Environmental groups said Wednesday they might be heading to court to block plans by Vancouver-based Glacier Lake Resources.

 

JUDY FAHYS/KUER News

The latest battle over Utah’s shrunken national monuments has been playing out this week in rural communities. 

Utah’s Republican-controlled Legislature have taken a first step towards renaming hundreds of miles of scenic roads after President Donald Trump.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

Potential energy resources were a big reason behind shrinking two national monuments in Utah, according to a New York Times article on Friday.

Marc Toso / Courtesy: Patagonia

The very public fight between the outdoor gear company, Patagonia, and public lands policymakers continued this week, when the company's founder rejected an offer to testify on Capitol Hill.

Screenshot from House Federal Lands Subcommitee.

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, presented his bill Thursday to reconfigure what used to be the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

KUER

During his first official trip to Utah, President Donald Trump announced the largest cutback to national monument land in U.S. history. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante will lose a total of 2 million acres together. While Trump made the announcement in Salt Lake City, KUER's Judy Fahys was in San Juan County talking with Utahns who will be most affected by the change.

Link to original story: http://kuer.org/post/public-lands-emotions-shift-southern-utah-along-national-monument-boundaries

Howard Berkes / NPR

A coalition including conservation groups, outdoor retailer Patagonia and Navajo nonprofit Utah Dine Bikeyah filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday over its sharp reductions to the Bears Ears National Monument. It's the fourth lawsuit to be filed since the cuts were announced Monday. 

A Sixth National Park Could Be Established in Utah

Dec 6, 2017
Bureau of Land Management

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart is proposing that oil and gas royalties be allocated to the National Park Service.  It’s his answer to funding existing as well as new parks, including his bid to create a sixth national park in Utah.          

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Environmental groups and Native American tribes wasted no time in filing lawsuits to stop the Trump administration's vast cuts to two Utah national monuments. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

President Donald Trump’s orders to scale down two national monuments in southern Utah was widely anticipated by residents there.

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