It’s Friday, October 8, and President Joe Biden is restoring Bears Ears National Monument. 

The Biden administration is using its executive powers to restore environmental protections to three national monuments in Utah and Rhode Island that had been weakened by former President Donald Trump.

“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 Biden administration said in a statement about the decision.

In 2017, to the dismay of ​​environmentalists and Native American tribes, Trump cut back the area of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah by 82 percent and that of Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah by 50 percent. Bears Ears was home to the Navajo Nation, Zuni, Utah Diné Bikéyah, and Hopi tribes for 13,000 years; the tribes were forced out after America purchased the land from Mexico in 1848.

Biden’s move today will expand the original 1.3 million acre boundaries of Bears Ears and restore the 1.8 million acre boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante. The announcement also restores protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, a marine monument of sea canyons and underwater mountains off the New England coast.

Adam Mahoney

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The Smog

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