Haaland meets with Utah politicians, tribes as Biden weighs monument changes

Haaland meets with Utah politicians, tribes as Biden weighs monument changes
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Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandHarris in Shanksville honors heroism, courage of Flight 93 passengers Environmental groups call for immediate restoration of national monuments shrunk by Trump Interior Department posts new lease sales a week after resumption announcement MORE met with Utah politicians, tribal leaders and other stakeholders Wednesday and Thursday as President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE weighs whether to change the boundaries of two monuments that were shrunk by former President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE.

“I spent time on the land, I looked at pictographs, vistas that take your breath away,” Haaland said during a press conference Thursday on her trip to the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

“I’m meeting with as many people as possible: tribal leaders, the governor, senators, Congress members, hearing from local folks, county commissioners later on today, local ranchers and the mining industry ... the outdoor recreation folks, small business owners, conservation organizations, and, of course, the scientists,” Haaland said. 

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On her trip, ahead of a report that she will send to Biden, she’s also expected to visit the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

Trump shrunk the size of the Obama- and Clinton-designated monuments by some 2 million acres, and reopened an East Coast marine monument to commercial fishing. 

In an executive order earlier this year, Biden directed Haaland to review the three monuments to determine “whether restoration of the monument boundaries and conditions that existed as of January 20, 2017, would be appropriate."

Haaland did not say Thursday what the Biden administration will ultimately decide, noting “it’ll be up to the president.”

“My job ... is to be here to listen, to learn, to report back to the president of every single voice I have heard on this trip to make sure that he has all the information that he needs to make a decision,” she said.