Trump administration finalizes plan to open once protected land for business

The Interior Department on Thursday finalized plans to allow drilling, mining, and grazing in parts of southern Utah once protected in the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

President Trump two years ago sharply reduced the size of the monuments, angering tribal groups and conservationists.

The proposal to open the land for business is expected to energize a legal fight over the land, which includes badlands, slot canyons, and other features sacred to Native American nations.

Under language Congress included in a spending bill, the earliest the Trump administration could approve mining claims or other projects in the areas is Oct. 1.

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