National Monuments: A Sober Discussion

May 18, 2017 (GearJunkie)

And it’s hardly a coincidence that Trump’s executive order extends back to 1996, the year President Bill Clinton created the controversial Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Among other things, the 1.7-million-acre designation essentially put the kibosh on a proposed coal project in the now-protected Kaiparowits Plateau.

The return of such projects is not inevitable, though. It depends on the economic incentives and a company’s willingness to invest in land that might carry heightened legal and political uncertainty.

“It is possible that you’d see some attempts to mine those areas again with a change to the monument,” said Shawn Teigen, research director at the Utah Foundation and author of a recent report on the state’s coal industry. He was speaking of the Kaiparowits Plateau. “However, with an uncertainty around the area in terms of the future designations, environmental legal challenges, and demand, I would be a bit surprised.”

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