WASHINGTON (AP) — An AP Fact Check finds that President Donald Trump is making some unusual points in support of his decision to shrink national monument lands in Utah.
For one, he says scaling back land protected by the monuments would restore Native Americans’ “rightful voice over the sacred land.” But native groups fear losing existing rights because of his decision, and are fighting it in court.
He contends freeing vast lands in Utah from monument designation will also restore recreational rights. But those rights are affirmed in protections he’d roll back.
Trump has acted to reduce the Bears Ears monument lands by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half.