Interior Dept focused on expanding energy production in first year under Trump

The proposal to increase offshore drilling leases still faces public comment

But one of the past year's biggest controversies was more related to the country's approach to public lands than drilling. The president announced the administration will move to drastically shrink two national monuments in Utah and create several smaller monuments in their place, saying that they were designated by previous presidents against the will of local communities. The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments have spiritual significance to Native American tribes who want them to keep their national monument status.

Groups that want Bears Ears and Grand Staircase to stay national monuments contend that the administration wants to allow mining that could threaten the quality of the land, especially areas with historical value like ancient dwellings and even dinosaur fossils going back to the Triassic period. But Zinke said the land will still be federally protected and that they have not seen any interest from oil and gas companies. Starting on February 2 the federal government will be allowed to issue leases on land that is no longer part of the monument but no lease sale on land that was part of the monument has been announced. There is a lease sale scheduled in March that will offer oil and gas drilling in the same county as the monuments.

Several lawsuits have been filed to block the changes claiming that the president doesn't have the authority to eliminate national monuments under the Antiquities Act. Zinke recommended changes to six additional national monuments and creating four new monuments, which are expected to be announced in 2018.

The service began accepting permits to import trophies from lions killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe in October.

The department has actually increased its staffing since last year. As of September 2017, the department employed almost 68,000 people, about 4,000 more than in December 2016.

ABC News will begin livestreaming coverage of the State of the Union Address on Tuesday night starting at 8:15 p.m. EST. Then at 9:00 p.m. EST you can watch the full State of the Union Address followed by the Democratic response on, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and the ABC News app.