US government issues final Utah monument plan

phys.org | 7/9/2017 | Staff
tanikaki (Posted by) Level 3
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The U.S. government's final management plan for lands in and around a Utah national monument that President Donald Trump downsized doesn't include many new protections for the cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches found there, but it does include a few more safeguards than were in a proposal issued last year.

The Bureau of Land Management's plan for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southwestern Utah codifies that the lands cut out of the monument will be open to mineral extraction such as oil, gas and coal as expected, according to a plan summary the agency provided to The Associated Press.

Agency - Option - Areas - Concern - Lands

The agency chose an option that doesn't add any areas of critical environmental concern, increases lands open to cattle grazing and could raise the potential for "adverse effects" on lands and resources in the monument, the document shows.

At the same time, the agency tweaked the plan from last year to call for new recreation management plans to address impacts on several highly visited areas, opens fewer acres to ATVs and nixes a plan that would have allowed people to collect some non-dinosaur fossils in certain areas inside the monument.

Agency - Land - Miles - Kilometers - Cut

The agency also determined that no land will be sold from the 1,345 square miles (3,488 square kilometers) cut from the monument. Last year, Interior Department leaders rescinded a plan to sell 2.5 square miles (6.5 square kilometers) of that land after it was included in the draft management proposal and drew backlash from environmentalists.

Conservation and paleontology groups have vehemently opposed the downsizing of the monument and have lawsuits pending challenging the move.

Harry - Barber - Acting - Manager - Grand

Harry Barber, the acting manager at Grand Staircase, said in an interview with the AP that the plan reflects changes made after considering input from the public, an assessment that enough protections are in place already, and the voices of all different...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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