Emails – Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument

The New York Times: “Even before President Trump officially opened his high-profile review last spring of federal lands protected as national monuments, the Department of Interior was focused on the potential for oil and gas exploration at a protected Utah site, internal agency documents show. The debate started as early as March 2017, when an aide to Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, asked a senior Interior Department official to consider shrinking Bears Ears National Monument in the southeastern corner of the state. Under a longstanding program in Utah, oil and natural gas deposits within the boundaries of the monument could have been used to raise revenue for public schools had the land not been under federal protection. “Please see attached for a shapefile and pdf of a map depicting a boundary change for the southeast portion of the Bears Ears monument,” said the March 15 email from Senator Hatch’s office. Adopting this map would…

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