Poll: Utah voters divided on future of two national monuments

Poll: Utah voters divided on future of two national monuments
© Getty Images

Most Utahns surveyed in a new poll support shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument but broadly oppose doing the same to Grand Staircase-Escalante.

The poll, released Tuesday by the Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah, found 51 percent of respondents consider Bears Ears, established under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama2020 Democratic Party platform endorses Trump's NASA moon program Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Statehood for Puerto Rico and the obstruction of justice MORE, to be too large.

But 53 percent of voters also said the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument should be preserved and not split into smaller monuments, something supported by 27 percent of those polled.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — both controversial monuments in the Beehive State — are two of nearly 30 large national monuments that the Interior Department considered for changes earlier this year.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog MORE has said he will recommend President Trump shrink Bears Ears, a 1.3-million acre expanse established by the Obama administration late last year containing cultural sites from Native American tribes.

Reports indicate Zinke will also recommend Trump shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante, a 1.8-million acre monument established by President Clinton in 1996.

The White House has not released details about Zinke’s monuments review, which was sparked by concerns over the expansive use of presidential monument-making authority under the Antiquities Act.

Conservation groups have vowed to sue over any decision to shrink previously declared monuments, saying the Oval Office has the power to make the designations, but not reverse them.