BLM endorses massive expansion of a coal mine—right next to Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah has the darkest nighttime sky of any national park in the Lower 48 states. But with the Trump administration’s recent endorsement of a project to expand a coal strip mine just a few miles away, the beloved park's skies could soon be dark for another reason: smog. The Bureau of Land Management's final environmental impact statement concludes that Alton Coal Development’s plan to lease nearly an additional 3,600 acres of federal land and mine 30.8 million more tons of coal near its existing mine is environmentally friendly. (Reminder: Coal mining—and burning—is inherently environmentally unfriendly.) Environmentalists and local recreation groups are pushing back. The area’s booming tourism industry, which relies on pristine wilderness and clear skies for visitors, would undoubtedly suffer under the increased pollution and construction the project would bring. More to the point: The coal industry as a whole is on the way out, and breaking ground on a massive (and poorly placed) mine makes no sense.

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