Zinke Dink : Stripping and Selling America’s Treasures

March 2, 2018

bearsears1

Punk move is what we’ve come to expect.

The Hill:

Interior Department emails show that its decision to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument was largely centered on allowing for oil and gas exploration on the protected site, The New York Times reports.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) first suggested reductions to the monument that was created under President Obama, citing the vast oil and natural gas deposits under parts of the monument in emails with the department last March.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke opened the department’s controversial inquiry into altering boundaries for national monuments just one month after Hatch’s office provided maps of the reserves on the site.

And Trump’s final decision to shrink the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears monument by nearly 85 percent closely followed the boundaries of the map showing those reserves.

New York Times:

Matthew Whitlock, a spokesman for Senator Hatch, said that the senator has been involved in discussions around Bears Ears for years. He emphasized that some of the land had long been designated to help fund local schools, and that Senator Hatch’s interest was to protect the school funding.

The internal Interior Department emails and memos also show the central role that concerns over gaining access to coal reserves played in the decision by the Trump administration to shrink the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about 47 percent, to just over 1 million acres.

Mr. Zinke’s staff developed a series of estimates on the value of coal that could potentially be mined from a section of Grand Staircase called the Kaiparowits plateau. As a result of Mr. Trump’s action, major parts of the area are no longer a part of the national monument.

“The Kaiparowits plateau, located within the monument, contains one of the largest coal deposits in the United States,” an Interior Department memo, issued in the spring of 2017, said. About 11.36 billion tons are “technologically recoverable,” it projected.

From the start of the Interior Department review process, agency officials directed staff to figure out how much coal, oil and natural gas — as well as grass for cattle grazing and timber — had been put essentially off limits, or made harder to access, by the decision to designate the areas as national monuments.

Matthew Whitlock, a spokesman for Senator Hatch, said that the senator has been involved in discussions around Bears Ears for years. He emphasized that some of the land had long been designated to help fund local schools, and that Senator Hatch’s interest was to protect the school funding.

The internal Interior Department emails and memos also show the central role that concerns over gaining access to coal reserves played in the decision by the Trump administration to shrink the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about 47 percent, to just over 1 million acres.

Mr. Zinke’s staff developed a series of estimates on the value of coal that could potentially be mined from a section of Grand Staircase called the Kaiparowits plateau. As a result of Mr. Trump’s action, major parts of the area are no longer a part of the national monument.

“The Kaiparowits plateau, located within the monument, contains one of the largest coal deposits in the United States,” an Interior Department memo, issued in the spring of 2017, said. About 11.36 billion tons are “technologically recoverable,” it projected.

From the start of the Interior Department review process, agency officials directed staff to figure out how much coal, oil and natural gas — as well as grass for cattle grazing and timber — had been put essentially off limits, or made harder to access, by the decision to designate the areas as national monuments.

The state has generated more than $1.7 billion in revenue from the trust lands to support public schools, mostly by selling off mineral rights and allowing private companies to extract oil or gas. The Bears Ears National Monument created by President Obama in 2016 included about 110,000 acres of these trust lands, eliminating the potential for resource sales, the state said.

John Andrews, associate director of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which oversees the lands designated for school funding, acknowledged that the new Bears Ears boundaries approved by Mr. Trump, which reduced the land removed from the trust’s management to about 22,000 acres, reflected his group’s request to exclude trust lands from federal protection.

But he noted that Mr. Trump ultimately reduced the monument by a much larger amount than his organization had sought.

“Obviously they were looking at facts other than the ones we had raised, we assume,” he said.

 

 

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5 Responses to “Zinke Dink : Stripping and Selling America’s Treasures”


  1. Guess they are not coastal dwellers, but their turn will come to pay the ferryman

    https://grist.org/article/boston-noreaster-hurricane-like-winter-bomb-cyclone/

    Nor’easters are now just as dangerous as hurricanes
    By Eric Holthaus on Mar 2, 2018
    On Friday and Saturday, the winter storm now moving up the East Coast will unleash hurricane-force winds on Washington, blizzard conditions across parts of New York and New England, and inflict the worst coastal flood in Boston’s history.

    By all accounts, this storm is a monster. It’s also the latest sign that New England’s long-feared coastal flooding problem is already here — and it’s time to admit climate change is its primary cause.
    Although the storm is getting little attention in the national news, the National Weather Service and meteorologists across the Northeast are screaming at a fever pitch. Boston-area municipalities have taken heed, issuing evacuations, preparing dive-team equipment for water rescues, and deploying a temporary flood barrier designed as a climate change-resilience measure. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has activated the National Guard to help with preparations.

  2. pendantry Says:

    @Peter you may want to revisit this post, looks to me as though you have repeated four paragraphs.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Of course, if a Repugnant governor asks for the landscape NOT to be raped, as Scott did with the offshore drilling in FL, Zinke Dinke is more than glad to go along.

    The hypocrisy of the Utahns is incredible—-they STOLE the land from the Native Americans in the first place.


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