Previously suspected and now confirmed: Oil was a key factor behind the Trump administration’s decision to shrink Bears Ears National Monument. Emails obtained (painstakingly) by the New York Times show that the U.S. Department of the Interior zeroed in on the site specifically for gas and oil exploration. In March 2017, an aide to Utah senator Orrin Hatch emailed an Interior official, asking him to consider resolving “all known minerals conflicts” in the monument, a reference to areas then under federal control that the state wanted to open to oil and gas development. The map President Trump later used to reduce the monument size by 85 percent was virtually the same as the one suggested by Hatch’s aide. The documents also revealed that coal reserves were a factor in shrinking Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, contradicting public statements made last year by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke: “We also have a pretty good idea of, certainly, the oil and gas potential—not much! So Bears Ears isn’t really about oil and gas." Riiight.
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WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke took the first official step today towards stripping federal protection from the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. He proposed reevaluating the boundaries of Bears Ears, and its management.
The president signed proclamations on Monday that would strip protections from Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
Expert BlogSharon Buccino
The Interior Department is the caretaker of America’s public lands, wildlife and natural resources. Unfortunately, Interior Secretary Zinke is proving to be a steward for just a few of us—the oil, gas and coal companies who seek to dig and…
Expert BlogMeleah Geertsma
In another attack on the Interior Department’s common sense measures to cut pollution from oil and gas operations on the nation’s public lands, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is trying again to stay the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste…