In late June, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT-1) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-3) introduced bills in each chamber to address the backlog of maintenance at U.S. national parks via a new funding program. S. 3172 and H.R. 6510 are nearly identical to address the $11.6 billion backlog.
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on December 14 to consider the Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act, introduced by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT-2) to create Utah’s sixth national park - the Escalante Canyons National Park and Preserve.
On December 4, following an ongoing review by the Department of the Interior of 27 national monuments, President Donald Trump signed two proclamations reducing the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah by about 85 percent and 47 percent, respectively. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke publicly released his final report to the President one day later, which recommended modifications to national monuments in Nevada, Oregon, and California.