Trump scales back 2 big Utah national monuments

President Donald Trump signs the hat of Bruce Adams, chairman of the San Juan County Commission, after speaking about his decision to shrink the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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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