October 27, 2017 / 7:03 PM / a year ago

Utah senator says Trump agreed to shrink two national monuments

NEW YORK, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said on Friday U.S. President Donald Trump told him he would shrink the size of two national monuments in Utah, opening more land to oil and gas drilling over objections by Native Americans living nearby.

The two Utah sites, Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are among several U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended shrinking in order to make way for more industrial activity on the land they occupy.

“I was incredibly grateful the President called this morning to let us know that he is approving Secretary Zinke’s recommendation on Bears Ears,” Hatch said in a statement emailed to Reuters. His spokesman Matt Whitlock, who said in an email he had listened to Hatch’s conversation with Trump, said Trump told Hatch he was approving shrinking the two monuments “for you, Orrin.” (Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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