Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trump Takes Aim at Western Monuments That May Hold Oil, Coal

Bloomberg/ JADouhy

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah boasts stretches of red-and-yellow sandstone so brilliant they appear to be ablaze and rock structures so precarious they appear to defy gravity.

The rugged terrain south of the Colorado River also has reserves of oil and natural gas that are currently off limits to new leasing -- restrictions that may end as the Trump administration reviews 27 large-scale monuments his predecessors set aside for protection.

Industry groups and Republican lawmakers have praised President Donald Trump’s order to review those monument designations, calling it a welcome reconsideration of federal overreach. Yet, environmental groups are concerned Trump will scrap or scale back those designations, and the net result will be a boost to the fortunes of oil drillers and mining companies.

"Oil and gas is definitely a factor -- particularly given that with Trump it’s been something he’s talked about consistently," said Tim Donaghy, a research specialist with Greenpeace. "They’re going to try to knock down as many barriers as possible to expanded oil and gas drilling."
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