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Pres. Biden Reinstates Protections for National Monuments

President Joe Biden just signed an executive order safeguarding two areas of public land that the Trump administration had previously downsized. On Friday, Biden re-established the original boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, both of which are located in Utah. ‘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 statement. Upon taking office in 2017, President Trump signed an executive order of his own that drastically cut down the size of Bear Ears by 85% and reduced the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante by half, a decision championed by certain conservative and private interest groups but widely criticized by Indigenous communities and environmental activists. According to NPR, Trump’s executive order was the largest downsizing of U.S. public monuments in history. At a press conference discussing the new executive order, President Biden was keen to tie his decision to a larger effort to fight the climate crisis. ‘Today, our children are three times more likely to see climate disasters uproot and unsettle their lives than their grandparents’ generation,’ Biden said. ‘We have to come together and understand why this work is so critical. When we protect and care for [public lands], we’re not just preserving the majesty of nature. We’re safeguarding water sources, and lessening the impact of fires.’

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