Trump plan on Utah monuments draws 5,000 protesters

Trump plan on Utah monuments draws 5,000 protesters

Thousands rallied outside Utah’s Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday, protesting President Donald Trump’s expected plan to shrink two national monuments in one of America’s most scenic states.

The Utah Highway Patrol estimated the crowd to be about 5,000 people, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Trump will travel to Utah on Monday to help sell the idea of cutting the size of Bears Ears and Grande Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

But the plan faces opposition from environmentalists and tribal leaders, who have decried it as illegal and an affront to Native Americans.

Attorney general for the Navajo Nation, Ethel Branch, said Trump should visit the monuments before making a decision on them.

“I want him to visit Bears Ears before he takes any action,” Branch said.

Trump plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half.

The plan would cut the total amount of land in the state’s red rock country protected by monument status from more than 3.2 million acres to about 1.2 million acres, the Washington Post reported.

Trump has reportedly told U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and other Utah officials that he will follow the recommendations of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke regarding the monuments.

Bears Ears was designated a national monument in 2016 by President Barack Obama. Staircase-Escalante was designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.