Friday, January 27, 2017

Trump is eager to undo sacred tribal monument, says Orrin Hatch

President Trump is "eager to work with" Republican lawmakers on undoing new federal protections for Bears Ears, a sacred tribal site in Utah, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Former president Barack Obama designated the 1.35 million-acre area, which includes artifacts and rock drawings from ancestral Pueblos, as a national monument in late December. But Hatch and several other key Utah Republicans, including House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, have argued for months that Obama should not have invoked his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect the site. Hatch, who met with Trump Thursday, said Friday that he had spoken with Trump "and one of the issues I raised very strongly was Bears Ears." In a statement, he noted the president's interior secretary nominee, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has already pledged "that his first trip after confirmation would be to Utah to get right to work with us on addressing this travesty." "As secretary of the Interior, Zinke will play a key role in this fight, but in the end, changes to a national monument have to come from the president himself," Hatch said. "That's why I raised it with the president directly." The senator continued: "And not only is he willing to listen, he's eager to work with me to address this." Bishop and Chaffetz have also been pressing the issue with the administration, including before Trump actually took office...more

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