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Certain sandstone arches in Utah emit a steady hum. Shown here: Metate Arch in Devil's Garden, Utah. raphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Zoe Woodcraft

The sound is like a low, steady rumble, soothing yet powerful. Imperceptible to the human ear, the hums of red rock arches in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments carry with them the deep patterns of the earth's plates sparked by events like ocean currents colliding in the open Pacific that pump the ocean floor. On the surface, wind spilling over the arches amplifies the vibrations, giving voice to movements in the earth that began thousands of miles away.

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A man holds up a sign in protest during a Utah visit by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. George Frey / Getty Images

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not draw the reduced boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah to benefit a political ally, The Associated Press reported Monday.

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The Citadel Ruins at the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

Even though Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke insisted "this is not about energy," environmentalists and public lands advocates have long suspected the Trump administration's cuts to national monuments were driven by its push for more drilling, mining and other development.

Now, internal Interior Department documents obtained by the New York Times show that gaining access to the oil, natural gas and uranium deposits in Bears Ears and coal reserves in Grand Staircase-Escalante were indeed key reasons behind President Trump's drastic cuts to the two monuments in Utah.

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ksblack99 / Flickr

by Jessica Corbett

Despite protests from conservationists, local tribe leaders, Democratic lawmakers and even the United Nations' expert on Indigenous rights, at 6 a.m. on Friday the Trump administration will allow citizens and companies to start staking claims on sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah so the new stakeholders can conduct hard rock mining on the formerly protected lands.

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Gage Skidmore

By John Dougherty

Shock, disappointment and warnings of potential for more armed standoffs over U.S. public lands were among the reactions Monday from two academic experts and a former Oregon county judge to a federal judge's order dismissing the government's criminal charges against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and a fourth man linked to militia groups.

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The famous Wahweap Hoodoos at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are no longer protected as a national monument. Mark Stacey / NOAA

By John Gilroy

Just a day after President Donald Trump significantly diminished the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced legislation that would reduce the protections on this unique landscape even further.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante Enhancement Act (H.R. 4558) mirrors President Trump's proclamation by creating three smaller national monuments and one national park that together would preserve roughly 60 percent of the landscape that has been safeguarded by the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument since its inception in 1996.

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While we fight to defeat President Trump's attacks on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, these are some of the real, on-the-ground threats we must keep at bay.

Following the lead of Native American tribes, The Wilderness Society and other groups have filed lawsuits against President Trump for violating the Antiquities Act when he essentially eliminated Bears Ears and greatly reduced Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

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Bears Ears National Monument Valley of the Gods. Bob Wick / BLM

By John Dougherty

President Trump's visit to Salt Lake City Monday to sign two orders slashing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments also included a meeting with Mormon religious leaders who shared "Church doctrine" with the president before he signed the controversial proclamations.

Trump's unprecedented, two-million-acre cut in public land protection was spurred by Mormon political leaders, including Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, and supported by the entire Utah congressional delegation, Utah governor and Utah legislature.

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Hoodoos at sunrise in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Bob Wick / BLM / Flickr

Hours after President Donald Trump issued a proclamation taking an axe to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah on Monday, conservation organizations filed a lawsuit attacking the order as an abuse of the president's power.

Earthjustice is representing eight organizations in a suit charging that the president violated the 1906 Antiquities Act by stripping monument protections from this national treasure: The Wilderness Society, the Grand Canyon Trust, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit and represented by in-house counsel.

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Saturday rally at Utah State Capitol against President Trump's anticipated cuts to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. League of Conservation Voters

President Donald Trump will visit Utah today to announce dramatic cuts to two national monuments in the state.

Trump is expected to speak at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City at 12:30 p.m. According to reports, he will announce the gutting of the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and the slashing of the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent. The move will be the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history.

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Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Harry Hayashi / ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

President Donald Trump is expected to order a significant downsizing of two national monuments in Utah next week, a move environmentalists have condemned as the "largest rollback of federal land protections ever."

According to leaked documents obtained by the Associated Press, the president plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half.

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