The Obama administration designated 1.6 million acres of Utah and Nevada as national monuments Wednesday, including one controversial area of Utah that is rankling congressional Republicans.
The White House announced the 1.35 million-acre Bear Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah and the 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument just outside of Las Vegas. The two desert monuments have long been discussed as possible monument designations, and President Obama said it was time to protect important Native American spaces and natural wonders.
He said the areas contain cultural artifacts, including rock art and archeological sites, and lands that Native Americans consider sacred.
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