President Trump's plan to shrink two national monuments could lead to the extinction of multiple rare bee species, scientists concluded in a study released on Tuesday.
Trump announced last December his intentions to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument in Utah, an area that scientists say houses 660 species of bees. The government is poised to divide the large monument into three smaller ones, cutting the 1.9-million-acre site nearly in half.
The authors of the PeerJ study found that at least 84 species of bees will no longer live on federally protected land after the division takes place.
The area's bee population is unique, including some species that have not yet been named or identified, the scientists reported. While it is not certain that they will go extinct, their homes will no longer exist in a protected zone.
"The original [Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument] housed a richer bee community than the new smaller monument units," the scientists found.
"The minimization of this monument opens the door to further development, such as paving, mining, natural gas extraction, and increased human activity and traffic, and reduces the role these monuments can play in protecting unique pollinators and pollinator communities," they concluded.
Pollinators are vital to maintaining a region's biodiversity.
Multiple groups, including Native American tribes, scientists and other conservationists have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration over its plan to slash the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in southern Utah.
The monument designation comes with a host of regulations that preserve the land and animals under its jurisdiction.
Former President Obama created Bears Ears and former President Clinton created Grand Staircase-Escalante to protect what they saw as important artifacts, ecosystems and Native American cultural sites.