Hatch says Trump will reduce Bears Ears; Trump coming to Utah in December to announce monument changes

Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office says President Donald Trump called him Friday to confirm that Trump will reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument.

A statement from Hatch’s office says Trump will accept Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to shrink the borders of Bears Ears.

“I was incredibly grateful when the President called this morning to let us know that he is approving Secretary Zinke’s recommendation on Bears Ears,” Hatch said in a statement. “Protecting sacred antiquities is a matter of critical importance, and Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration found a better way to do it by rolling up their sleeves, digging in, and talking with Native American tribes. We’ll continue working closely with locals moving forward to ensure that Utahns have a voice in this process.”

Secretary Zinke announced this summer he would recommend changing the borders of Bears Ears. Sources told UtahPolicy.com that the 1.35 million acre monument could be reduced to as little as 160,000 acres.

A UtahPolicy.com survey from September found that 49% of Utahns support reducing the size of the Bears Ears monument. However, 50% of Utahns say they do not want Grand Staircase-Escalante reduced.

On Friday, the White House announced that President Trump will visit Utah in December to officially unveil his decision on changing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Former President Barack Obama established the Bears Ears National Monument in December of last year shortly before leaving office.