Trump scales back 2 big Utah national monuments

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump's plan to scale back national monuments

Posted: Dec 4, 2017 11:57 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump's plan to scale back national monuments (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed proclamations to formally scale back two sprawling national monuments in Utah: Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante.

Trump traveled to Salt Lake City to make the announcement and sign the declarations. The move is supported by Utah's top Republican officials but opposed by tribes and environmental groups.

Trump said in a speech Monday at the Utah State Capitol that past presidential administrations had "severely abused" the purpose and spirt of a federal law that allows them to protect public lands by turning them into national monuments.

Trump says his action means that "public lands will once again be for public use."

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2:30 p.m.

Roughly 2,000 demonstrators are lined up near the Utah State Capitol protesting President Donald Trump's announcement reducing two national monuments in Utah.

The vocal group gathered in wintry weather Monday morning held signs like "Keep your tiny hands off our public lands" and chanted "Lock him up."

Navajo protester and University of Utah student Shaniah Chee says wood-gathering in the area is essential to her tribe's traditions. She calls the reduction a major loss.

A handful of counter-protesters also gathered to support Trump and the decision to scale back the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalate national monuments. Jason Lutu of Lehi works in construction and says he's in favor of potential drilling or mining that could create jobs.

-- Associated Press writer Michelle L. Price in Salt Lake City

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2:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's encouraging 83-year-old Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah to run for re-election.

Hatch joined Trump on a visit Monday to Salt Lake City. When Trump was asked if he wants Hatch to run for an eighth term in 2018, he replied, "Yes."

Trump made the comments while touring a food distribution center run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hatch has not publicly declared his plans.

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1:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting with Mormon leaders during a trip to Utah to announce he's scaling back two sprawling national monuments.

Trump on Monday visited Welfare Square, a complex in Salt Lake City run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that provides aid to the poor.

Trump spoke briefly and publicly praised the church for the way it takes care of people.

The Republican president traveled west to announce his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments spanning millions of acres in Utah. He has condemned the act of creating the Utah monuments as a "massive federal land grab."

The move is welcomed by the state's top Republicans but opposed by Native American tribes and environmental groups.

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1:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in Utah to announce that he is scaling back two sprawling national monuments in a move welcomed by the state's top Republicans but opposed by Native American tribes and environmental groups.

Trump landed in Salt Lake City late Monday morning. He was accompanied on Air Force One by Utah Republican senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The president traveled west to announce his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments spanning millions of acres in Utah. The two monuments were among 27 that Trump ordered Zinke to review earlier this year.

Trump will also meet with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints while he is in Utah.

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9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his plan to scale back two national monuments in Utah is an important move for "state's rights" as well as for the people of Utah.

Trump commented Monday as he left the White House for a trip to Salt Lake City, where he was outlining his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments. Both monuments span millions of acres in Utah and are among 27 national monuments that Trump ordered his Interior Secretary to review earlier this year.

Trump previously had condemned the act of creating the Utah monuments as a "massive federal land grab."

Utah Republican leaders had complained that the monuments locked up too much federal land.

Both monuments were created by Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

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1:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is outlining his plans to scale back two sprawling national monuments in Utah, responding to what he has condemned as a "massive federal land grab" by the government.

Trump is traveling to Salt Lake City on Monday to announce his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments spanning millions of acres in Utah. The two national monuments are among 27 that Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review earlier this year.

Utah's Republican leaders pressed Trump to launch the review, saying the monuments declared by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton locked up too much federal land.

The planned changes have angered tribes and environmentalist groups who have vowed to sue to preserve the monuments.

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