The decision marks the first time in a half century that a president has undone these types of land protections.
Both actions were in response to Trump's decision to reduce the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by more than 800,000 acres, or 46 percent, and the Bear Ears National Monument by more than 1.1 million acres, or 85 percent, making it "the largest reduction of public-lands protection in USA history", as The Post's Josh Dawsey and Juliet Eilperin reported.
Presidents of both parties have set aside increasingly large parcels of land, raising the ire of Western Republican lawmakers anxious the protections will constrain energy development and animal grazing. It was a blow to Republican leaders who campaigned to prevent what they call a layer of unnecessary federal control that hurts local economies by closing the area to new energy development. A coalition of American Indian tribes plans to sue over that decision. The suit, which is likely to provoke a prolonged court battle, claims Trump can not legally revoke the land's monument status.
They argue that the areas protected were unnecessarily vast, limiting the potential for economic growth and generally increasing federal control over a state where some two-thirds of the land is already owned by the US government. Some held signs that said, "Keep your tiny hands off our public lands", and they chanted, "Lock him up!" Their actions actually kept many Native Americans from practicing "their most important ancestral and religious traditions" on the land, Trump said.
"Your timeless bond with the outdoors should not be replaced with the whims of regulators thousands and thousands of miles away", Trump said.
"The representatives of Utah have taken it upon themselves to declare war upon us ..."
Grand Staircase-Escalante will be reduced from almost 1.9 million acres (nearly 3,000 square miles) to 1 million acres (1,569 square miles).
Trump said Monday that former Presidents Obama and Clinton had "severely abused the goal, spirit and intent" of the 1906 Antiquities Act in creating the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments, respectively.
Both were among a group of 27 monuments that President Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review this year. He was accompanied on Air Force One by Utah Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, who is contemplating whether to run for re-election next year when he'll turn 84. Hatch and other Utah Republican leaders pushed President Trump to launch the review, saying the monuments designated by the former Democratic presidents locked up too much federal land.
Mr Trump, for his part, justified his decision by returning to an old favorite: Washington overreach.
"This is a sad day for indigenous people and for America", Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said in a written response to the decision. The Administration's unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history. Elizabeth Warren by referring to the Massachusetts Democrat as "Pocahontas", mocking her claim of having Native American heritage.
The Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni nations filed a complaint against the Trump administration, - including U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the director of the Bureau of Land Management, Brian Steed - on Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Previous presidents have made small reductions to monument boundaries, but never until Monday had one used the Antiquities Act to so dramatically shrink them.
Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana, spoke on a call with reporters on Tuesday.
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