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

Go deeper

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Political world reacts to Biden tapping Kamala Harris as running mate

Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden at a campaign event in March. Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Democrats from across the party — including some of the women on Joe Biden's vice-presidential shortlist — are championing his historic appointment of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

What they're saying: "Joe Biden nailed this decision," former President Barack Obama wrote in a lengthy statement. "By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president."

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday that they've voted to postpone their 2020 fall sports seasons, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.

Why it matters: The move from two of the most prominent conferences in college sports will almost certainly prompt other Power Five leagues to follow suit.