Feb 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

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

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.

Go deeper: Trump administration mulls privatizing national park campgrounds

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Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

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