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As he had promised, President Trump today announced that two national monuments, one created by Obama against the wishes of local residents and the second created by Clinton, will be reduced significantly in size.
Trump shrunk Bears Ears by nearly 85 percent and reduced Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half. The plan would cut the total amount of land in the state’s red rock country protected under monument status from more than 3.2 million acres (5,000 square miles) to about 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles).
I think Trump’s statement explains very well the root reasons this is happening.
“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong,” he said in the cavernous Utah Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City. “The families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best. And you know the best how to take care of your land. You know how to protect it, and you know best how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come,” he said.
“Your timeless bond with the outdoors should not be replaced with the whims of regulators thousands and thousands of miles away. They don’t know your land, and truly they don’t care for your land like you do.”
The establishment of the national parks and monuments involved a lot of good intentions, and we all know where that leads. Today it has led to most of the land in the western states controlled by an oppressive bureaucracy in Washington that doesn’t have the resources to manage the land properly, but has the power to make the lives of the local population quite miserable. And they sadly do both, quite thoroughly.
In the eastern states there are few national parks. Instead, the land was controlled by the states, who treated the natural resources there most reasonably, and at the same time allowed for their citizens to live and work and take advantage of those resources. This is how our federal system of government is supposed to work, and Trump’s action today is merely the first step in shifting policy back in that direction.