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Leonardo DiCaprio foundation backing Utah national monument

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/13/2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation is chipping in to support a new national monument in Utah that's been a flashpoint over public land use in the West.

His environmental group is one of several donating to create the $1.5 million Bears Ears Community Engagement Fund, which officials said Friday will support tribal and local efforts to protect natural resources and the park's trove of ancient archaeological sites.

The actor also urged support for the creation of Bears Ears this summer with messages on his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

President Barack Obama designated the monument last month despite objections from Utah Republican leaders and rural residents who said it will add another layer of unnecessary federal control and close the area to new energy development.

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