President Joe Biden on Friday restored two sprawling national monuments in Utah, reversing a decision by President Donald Trump that opened for mining and other development hundreds of thousands of acres of rugged lands sacred to Native Americans and home to ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in southern Utah encompass more than 3.2 million acres — an area nearly the size of Connecticut — and were created by Democratic administrations under a century-old law that allows presidents to protect sites considered historic, geographically or culturally important.
“This may be the easiest thing I’ve ever done so far as president — I mean it,'' a smiling Biden said at a White House ceremony attended by Democratic lawmakers, tribal leaders and environmentalists.
...In a separate action, Biden also restored protections at a marine conservation area off the New England coast that has been used for commercial fishing under an order by Trump. A rules change approved by Trump allowed commercial fishing at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean, a nearly 5,000-square-mile area southeast of Cape Cod. Trump's action was heralded by fishing groups but derided by environmentalists who pushed Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to restore protections against fishing...MORE