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PNS Daily News - June 26, 2017 


We’re covering several issues in today’s news including: it’s a key week for Republicans drumming up support for health care legislation; mayors from around the country speak out against Trump’s climate policies; and why some cattle producers have a beef with the USDA.

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Utahns Go to Washington for National Monuments

National monuments including the Grand Staircase-Escalante could be rescinded or reduced under a new order by President Trump. (Getty Images)
National monuments including the Grand Staircase-Escalante could be rescinded or reduced under a new order by President Trump. (Getty Images)
June 8, 2017

BOULDER, Utah – Public lands defenders from Utah and across the country are in the nation's capital this week, urging leaders to protect America's national monuments.

President Donald Trump ordered a review of monuments designated since 1996 under the Antiquities Act, including Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Keith Watts, a guide and geologist who set up shop in the shadows of the staircase, says rescinding monuments or shrinking their size to make room for development is a big mistake.

"If we weaken the Antiquities Act, it weakens all of our national monuments,” he stresses. “It makes it that all these treasures that have been set aside now can be put on the chopping block."

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and others have urged Trump to reconsider the Bears Ears designation in particular, maintaining federal overreach and a negative impact on local economies due to limits on energy production.

According to an updated report by Headwaters Economics, local economies surrounding national monuments in western states actually have expanded after the designations.

Watts notes that the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, established for its scientific value, has produced a wealth of dinosaur fossils and Native American artifacts. He adds that many small businesses, including his, have staked their life's savings to the area.

"To lose the monument at this time after 20 years, when things are just starting to show some fruits, downsizing the monument would damage our businesses and would not be the best thing for the American people," he states.

Thursday marks the 111th anniversary of the signing of the Antiquities Act, which has been used by presidents of both parties to establish national monuments.

The American public has until July 10 to add their comments at regulations.gov.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - UT