Biden restores Bears Ears, other monuments cut by Trump

President Joe Biden has restored expansions for two national monuments in Utah, reversing a decision by President Donald Trump that had opened some lands for mining and development.

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments encompass more than 3.2 million acres. They include red-rock lands sacred to Native Americans and home to ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.

The vast majority of the land within the expanded Bears Ears National Monument is already owned by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The Forest Service has previously said that the 12,600 acres of privately-owned land within Bears Ears are not part of the monument.

Biden’s proclamation for Bears Ears says it contains "innumerable objects of historic or scientific interest." It says the lands also offer recreation opportunities including rock climbing, hunting, hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Meanwhile, the Grand Staircase-Escalante proclamation describes it as an "outdoor laboratory with great potential for diverse and significant scientific discoveries."

Biden on Friday also restored protections at a marine conservation area off the New England coast that has been used for commercial fishing under an order by Trump.

Trump had made a rule change to allow commercial fishing in a nearly 5,000-square-mile area, an action that was heralded by fishing groups but derided by environmentalists.