Feb 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Interior Dept. to allow mining, drilling in Utah's national monuments

In this image, two hikers walk past a large clay and brick building
Hikers visit the House on Fire Indian ruins in Mule Canyon, inside Bears Ears National Monument, June 2019. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

The Interior Department's plans to allow mining, drilling and grazing on lands formerly protected as Utah's national monuments went into effect on Thursday, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: In 2017, President Trump reduced the size of Utah's Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante by almost half, the acting assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management with the Interior Department said, per AP.

What's next: The lands, which contain thousands of cultural artifacts, "harbor significant amounts of oil, gas and coal that the administration hopes to develop, as well as grazing land valued by local ranchers," the Post reports.

What they're saying: The monuments remain under federal management, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management said in a press release on Thursday, and the agency has "developed new land use plans for the monuments."

  • "I'm happy to see the Administration develop management plans that protect areas with sensitive artifacts and yet still provide a way to use these lands for recreation, grazing, and management practices that will keep the lands healthy," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said in the release.

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