November 28, 2017 / 10:43 PM / 17 days ago

Trump to visit Utah next week, expected to announce land decision

WASHINGTON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is set to visit Utah on Monday and is expected to announce his decision on whether to reduce the size of two national monuments where drilling and mining are banned, an administration official said on Tuesday.

Trump is expected shrink the Bears Ears National Monument, set aside by former Democratic President Barack Obama, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, preserved by former Democratic President Bill Clinton. The trip was first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Trump has pushed to roll back regulations that prevent development. To that end, he had ordered a review of the size of 27 monuments: land with cultural, historical or scientific importance preserved from development by past presidents under the Antiquities Act.

Last month, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump would travel to Utah in early December, and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said Trump would reduce the size of the monuments.

Industry groups like the oil lobbying organization the American Petroleum Institute have said in the past that both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were unfairly designated as monuments and needed to be reviewed.

The decision is expected to touch off a legal battle with environmental groups and Native American tribes.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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