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Shrinking national monuments is ‘pure politics,’ Sally Jewell says

Anthony Fierro yells in front of a police officer as protesters are stopped from marching up State Street during President Donald Trump's announcement to eliminate vast portions of Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Laura Seitz/The Deseret News via AP)

Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has her doubts that President Trump has ever visited the national monuments that he wants to shrink.

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Jewell, who worked as the CEO of REI before serving in the Obama administration, says Trump’s decisions are “pure politics.”

“I don’t believe President Trump has visited these public lands or perhaps any public lands for that matter,” she told Seattle’s Morning News. “I don’t think he knows the area.”

Trump chose to reduce Bears Ears by approximately 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by almost 50 percent. Bears Ears was created last year by President Obama. Staircase-Escalante was designated by President Clinton. The Associated Press reports: “conservation groups called it the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”

Jewell says the decision is disappointing to the “2.8 million Americans” who openly opposed the recommendations made by President Trump.

“It’s just another slap in the face for a lot of us, a lot of our Native American brothers and sisters,” Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said.

The Navajo Nation and other tribes lobbied the Obama administration to declare Bears Ears a monument in order to preserve the land.

The Associated Press reports Trump’s decision followed lobbying done by Republican officials in Utah who argue the monuments “closed off the area to energy development and other access.”

Lawsuits over Trump’s decision are already being filed.

Jewell says there is a good chance it will be overturned in court.

Listen to the entire interview here.

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