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Sunset Arch rises from a sagebrush and slickrock flat in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.

With President Donald Trump's decision on Monday to remove over 2 million acres of land from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, three lawsuits have already been filed in response to the presidential proclamation.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke had recommended that Trump vastly reduce the size of the monuments and seek congressional authorization to turn over the remaining landmarks to be co-managed with Native American tribes. One would reduce the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, created in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama, to 228,784 acres split into two separate areas. What remains of the monument lands may be subdivided into multiple, isolated areas.

And a third suit was filed Monday evening by five Native American tribes challenging the Bears Ears decision by President Trump.

"With the action I'm taking today, we will not only give back your voice over the use of this land, we will also restore your access and your enjoyment". They are expected to file a lawsuit on Wednesday against the president, as founder Yvon Chouinard said as much in an interview with CNN.

Their suit questions President Trump's authority to modify or replace national monuments created by predecessors.

"Through the Antiquities Act, Congress delegated to the president the limited authority to designate national monuments and retained to itself the power to revoke or modify national monuments".

Patagonia says it will sue President Trump after he reduced the size of two monuments in Utah
Patagonia says it will sue President Trump after he reduced the size of two monuments in Utah

Zinke told reporters Tuesday he is "fairly confident" Trump will accept his recommendations.

"These are federal lands, these are our lands, they're everyone's, they're not just one state's" lands", said Mary Hertert, protester.

Zinke said his review looked at 150 monuments, with 27 getting the most scrutiny. Patagonia said the move was "illegal" and constituted the "largest elimination of protected land in American history".

REI changed its homepage to feature a large photo of Bears Ears National Monument with the words "We ❤ Our Public Lands" written across it. "And the Antiquities Act was never meant to prevent, it was meant to protect".

The Bears Ears National Monument, designated by Obama by proclamation a year ago, now encompasses 1.35 million acres in southern Utah, including the distinctive twin mesas that give the monument its name.

"More than 150 years ago, the federal government removed our ancestors from Bears Ears at gunpoint and sent them on the Long Walk", Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred said in statement.

Earlier, Trump met with Mormon leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and toured Welfare Square, the Mormon social services complex during his first trip to Utah as president.


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