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Quietly, Utah officials prepare land exchange in rejuvenated Bears Ears & Grand Staircase-Escalante

Even as Utah’s elected leaders are gearing up to file a lawsuit over the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument, state officials are quietly moving to accept that the site’s 1.36-million-acre footprint could be a reality.

Both the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and the Interior Department confirmed to E&E News last week that work has begun on an exchange for the approximately 135,000 acres of state-owned land inside the monument’s new boundaries.

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