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Biden to restore protections for three national monuments undoing Trump-era proclamation

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President Joe Biden is expected to restore protections for three national monuments on Friday, removing Trump-era proclamations that relaxed environmental protections on millions of acres of public land.

The president is restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments.

‘The President’s protection of these three national monuments is among a series of steps the Administration has taken to restore protections to some of America’s most cherished lands and waters, many of which are sacred to Tribal Nations,’ the White House said in a memo announcing the decision on Thursday.

Biden’s memo stated that land, water, ocean and wildlife conservation efforts are essential to solving the climate crisis, protecting public health, promoting wildlife and biodiversity and rebuilding the nation’s economy. 

President Joe Biden is expected to restore protections for three national monuments on Friday, including at the Grand Staircase of Escalante (pictured above)

Biden’s (left) restoration will remove proclamations issued by Donald Trump (right) that relaxed environmental protections on millions of acres of public land. At the time, Trump claimed the proclamations intended to designate ‘the smallest area compatible with the care and management of the important objects of historic or scientific interest’

The White House claims that restoring the protections on these three national monuments fulfills a key campaign promise and upholds the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments and other protected areas are to be preserved for all time and people. 

The boundaries at Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will be reset to where they were at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2016. 

It also retains protections for the 11,200 acres of land that Trump added to the park in 2017. 

‘Restoring the Monument’s boundaries and conditions restores its integrity, upholds efforts to honor the federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations, and conserves these lands and waters for future generations,’ the statement said. 

‘With this action, the total protected area of Bears Ears National Monument is 1.36 million acres.’ 

Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will now have 1.87 million acres of protected land, matching the amount it had in January 2017.

The White House claims the land has several ‘world-class geological objects of historic or scientific interest’ and is home to diverse soil and wildlife and dinosaur fossils, as well as Native American and pioneers’ objects, campsites and trails. 

The move resets the boundaries at Bears Ears National Monument in Utah to where they were at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2016. It also retains protections for the 11,200 acres of land that Trump added to the park in 2017

Protections will also be restored to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument — located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod — after Trump allowed for land development at the monument in 2020

Trump signed two presidential proclamations in 2017 diminishing the size of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 85 percent and 50 percent, respectively. 

The move was intended to designate ‘the smallest area compatible with the care and management of the important objects of historic or scientific interest.’  

Protections will also be restored to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument — located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod — after Trump allowed for land development at the monument in 2020.

The monument will now be fully protected which will prohibit commercial fishing. 

American lobster and crab fishing will be phased out by 2023. 

‘The Monument is composed of two units, the Canyons Unit and the Seamounts Unit, each of which showcases unique geological features that anchor vulnerable ecological communities threatened by varied uses, climate change, and related impacts,’ the White House statement said.