US poised to allow more mining on land Trump removed from monuments

US officials have announced plans to allow increased mining on land that once belonged to two national monuments Donald Trump shrank, and to sell off some of the land despite pledges not to do so.

The two monuments, now significantly smaller in size, are both in Utah. The draft management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument includes a 98-page minerals report that outlines deposits of coal, oil and gas, tar sands and other minerals under the whole of the monument’s original 1.9m acres.

It also targets 1,600 acres for selling to neighboring property owners, although the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, said on his second day on the job: “You can hear it from my lips: we will not sell off public lands.”

The Bears Ears national monument plan allows for mineral development in lands removed from monument status.

It is a goal of the administration to open public lands to increased industrial development. The plans follow Trump’s December 2017 executive order shrinking both monuments by a combined 2m acres, a move that prompted tribal and environmental groups and major outdoor brands to file lawsuits against the administration questioning the legality of the reduction.

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