BLUFF, Utah—Ranchers, wildcatters, Native Americans and environmentalists are among the many looking to see how Interior Secretary Deb Haaland balances their competing interests over the vast tracts of federal lands she oversees.
They will be watching closely Thursday, when the Laguna Pueblo tribe member and former New Mexico congresswoman tours two scenic national monuments in southern Utah that were drastically downsized under former President Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump reduced the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by two-thirds, saying his predecessors overstepped their authority in giving so much land the protections that come with monument status.
The interior secretary’s trip is part of a Biden administration review of Mr. Trump’s action. Several tribes, environmental groups and outdoor-recreation companies challenged the boundary reduction, leaving the territory’s status in legal limbo for more than three years.
As part of her review, Ms. Haaland has meetings scheduled with tribal leaders and environmentalists who want the previous boundaries restored, as well as with business owners, energy interests and state elected officials who say too much territory has been closed to commercial uses.