Trump administration moves ahead on shrinking Utah monuments

FILE - This July 15, 2016, file photo, shows the "Moonhouse" in McLoyd Canyon which is part of Bears Ears National Monument, near Blanding, Utah. The U.S. government implemented final management plans Thursday for two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump downsized. The plans ensure lands previously off-limits to energy development will be open to mining and drilling despite pending lawsuits by conservation, tribal and paleontology groups challenging the constitutionality of the president's action. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The U.S. government is implementing final management plans for two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump downsized. The plans ensure lands previously off-limits to energy development will be open to mining and drilling despite pending lawsuits. Casey Hammond of the U. S. Department of the Interior said Thursday on a conference call with reporters that the agency can’t wait for lawsuits to be decided. He said they have a duty to create the plans after Trump signed his proclamations in December 2017. Hammond says there has been limited interest from energy companies in the two years since the lands became open to development.