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National Park Proposal In Utah Monument Called A Ploy

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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Environmental groups are blasting a legislative proposal by U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart that would create a small national park within the recently downsized Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.

About 150 people rallied Tuesday on the steps of the state Capitol to make the point that the plan is a ruse to try and appease conservationists and open more land for mining and grazing.

Stewart's proposal would create a small national park in Grand Staircase and codify the new boundaries established by President Donald Trump, which cut the monument nearly in half and opened up about 1,500 square miles to potential coal mining, extraction and grazing.

Stewart, a Republican, scoffed at the critiques and said the plan would showcase majestic lands and draw more visitors.

The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at a House subcommittee hearing Thursday.