"BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Utah — Parts of this sprawling region of red-rock canyons and at least three other national monuments would lose their strict protection and could be reopened for new mining or drilling under proposals submitted to President Trump by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday, according to congressional aides and others who have been briefed on the report.
Environmentalists, ranchers, tribal governments and Western lawmakers had been watching closely to see if Mr. Zinke would propose changing the borders of the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument, which President Barack Obama established at the end of his term, and other scenic and historic areas under federal protection.
Shrinking the monuments would be widely seen as a direct blow to Mr. Obama’s environmental legacy, and would probably prompt the first major legal test of a century-old conservation law.
Mr. Zinke was believed to be leaning toward such a step. But when he submitted his recommendations on Thursday, he declined to announce specifically what he had proposed for Bears Ears or the other monuments under review. He referred to his recommendations only in general terms, saying they would “provide a much needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands.”"