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Interior Secretary Zinke has considered shrinking Bears Ears monument

FILE - In this May 9, 2017, file photo, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rides a horse in the new Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah. Zinke on Monday, June 12, 2017, recommended that the new national monument in Utah be reduced in size and said Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3 million-acre site are managed. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP, File)

(KUTV) The New York Times reports that Interior Secretary Zinke has considering to shrink the Bears Ears monument by more than a million acres.

Mr. Zinke has reportedly considered a dramatic reduction to Bears Ears, from 1.35 million to approximately 160,000 acres, according to multiple people familiar with the process.

Many believe the size reduction is to allow for new mining or drilling operations.

Near the end of his last term, Barack Obama established the new borders. He also placed other scenic and historic areas under federal protection.

Shrinking the size of the monuments could be perceived as a direct blow to Mr. Obama's environmental legacy.

On Thursday Zinke referred to his recommendations only in general terms, saying they would "provide a much-needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands."

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