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Ancient granaries are seen in Bears Ears National Monument outside Blanding, Utah, in 2017. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

President Biden announced Friday the protection of the expansion of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the New England coast.

Why it matters: The decision reverses a Trump-era policy that reduced the Bears Ears Monument's size by 85% in 2017. It also comes after a coalition of Native American tribes urged Biden to restore the monument.

Driving the news: "This may be the easiest thing I've ever done so far as President," Biden said before signing legislation to restore protections for the three national monuments.

  • "These protections provide a bridge to our past, but they also build a bridge to a safer, more sustainable future. One where we strengthen our economy, and pass on a healthy planet to our children and our grandchildren," Biden said.

The moves are consistent with recommendations from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, per the White House. They are supported by the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Justice as well as the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

  • The White House said administration officials met with members of Congress, state and local government officials, representatives of Tribal Nations and other stakeholders before coming to a decision. Haaland also visited Utah to directly meet with local residents and tour the area.
  • Bears Ears and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts were established by former President Obama in 2016. Grand Staircase-Escalante was created by former President Clinton in 1996.

What they're saying: "Today's announcement, it's not just about national monuments. It's about this administration centering the voices of indigenous people and affirming the shared stewardship of this landscape with tribal nations," Haaland said Friday.

  • "The President's actions today writes the new chapter that embraces indigenous knowledge, ensures tribal leadership has a seat at the table and demonstrates that by working together, we can build a brighter future for all of us."

The other side: "The President's decision to enlarge the monuments again is a tragic missed opportunity — it fails to provide certainty as well as the funding for law enforcement, research, and other protections which the monuments need and which only Congressional action can offer," wrote Utah Gov. Spencer Cox in a statement.

Go deeper: Tribes urge Biden to restore Bears Ears National Monument after Trump-era cuts

Go deeper

MMQB: Rodgers continues Bears domination

Bears QB Justin Fields looks on during the game against the Green Bay Packers. Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued his dominance over the Bears with a 24-14 win at Soldier Field. Rodgers is now 22-5 in his career against Chicago.

Why it matters: The Bears lost an opportunity to take over first place in the NFC North, instead falling to .500 and losing to the rival Packers for the fifth time in a row.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California and Washington state.