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Politics

Watch: Trump gives remarks at Utah State Capitol

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President Trump on Monday is expected to announce plans to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument, a vast expanse of red rock canyon lands in Utah, by up to 92 percent.

Trump will speak at the Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City, where he will be accompanied by the state's two Republican senators, Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, and by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The decision to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument, which was designated by President Obama, is highly controversial and pits conservationists and recreational users of public lands against the oil and gas industry, as well as other commercial interests.

By drastically reducing the amount of land protected by the Bears Ears National Monument designation, Trump would effectively open up the unprotected land to drilling and mining.

The authority to create national monuments is afforded to presidents under a 1906 law called the Antiquities Act, and in the century since the law was passed, it has been used to protect millions of acres of wilderness and scores of culturally important sites.

There are currently more than 125 designated national monuments, encompassing everything from a coral reef in the Caribbean to an African burial ground in New York State to a barrier island off the coast of Alaska.

Trump's decision is expected to spark a protracted legal battle over the president's authority to set aside land for conservation, and the rights of states and industries to access protected land.

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