Energy & Environment

Haaland return sets up Biden decision on Utah national monuments shrunk by Trump

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Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM), President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource, at the U.S. Capitol on February 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Rep. Haaland’s opposition to fracking and early endorsement of the Green New Deal has made her one…

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is a step closer to completing a full report on two national monuments in Utah shrunk by the Trump administration after completing a visit to the two areas.

In an executive order shortly after taking office, President Biden ordered a review of the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, with a report set to be submitted within 60 days.

Haaland visited the two monuments on Thursday, meeting with tribal leaders and local elected officials and stakeholders. She was briefed by Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service officials on the monuments, according to the department.

Interior has said a report on the monuments will be submitted after her trip to Utah. 

Haaland, the nation’s first Indigenous Cabinet secretary, met with tribal leaders representing the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition as well as Gov. Spencer Cox (R) and the state’s congressional delegation, according to the statement.

“How we manage public lands and national monuments is important – not just to the Tribes and ranchers and elected leaders and others who I met with this week, but to the many generations to come,” Haaland said. “I look forward to sharing what I heard and saw with President Biden so he has the benefit of these perspectives as we chart a path forward on the stewardship of these incredible culturally rich places.”

Trump reduced the boundaries of the monuments as designated under the Obama and Clinton administrations by about 2 million acres while also reopening a marine monument off the Massachusetts coast to commercial fishing.

Haaland said Thursday that the decision on whether to restore the original borders would ultimately rest with the president.

Tags Bears Ears Deb Haaland Department of the Interior Grand Staircase Escalante Joe Biden Spencer Cox
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