NPCA Criticizes Utah Decision to Allow Strip Mine Near Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is renowned for its colorful amphitheaters and starry skies. Visitors to that park could, however, soon have to contend with convoys of rumbling coal trucks and dusty skies if a coal mine goes in roughly 10 miles from Bryce Canyon.

Earlier this week the Utah Board of Oil, Gas & Mining gave its approval for the strip mine near the tiny town of Alton, Utah. Barring a legal challenge, apparently only a multi-million dollar reclamation bond stands in the way of the mine's opening.

The mine is expected to produce about 2 million tons of coal a year, with coal trucks rolling steadily through the tiny town of Panguitch just west of Bryce Canyon.

“The board’s poor decision puts our local economy and a crown jewel at risk—Bryce Canyon National Park, which supports more than 1,800 local jobs and contributed more than $89 million to the state’s economy in 2008," said David Nimkin, the southwest regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association.

“By every measure, this proposed strip mine will degrade the special qualities that millions of visitors to Bryce Canyon treasure each year. Water, air quality, night sky, and the local population will all be negatively affected by this mine," he added. “NPCA will continue to pursue every avenue available in the months ahead to prevent this ill-conceived development from moving forward and will continue to advocate for local, state, and federal policies that consider the inherent value of resources above the ground as well as beneath it.”

According to an Associated Press story about the ruling, the company had contributed $10,000 to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's election campaign prior to the board's consideration of the matter and voiced frustration with how long the approval process was taking.

Comments

A COAL MINE!!!?? How last century is that? The big buzz word these days is GREEN TECH. and these bozo's give the go-ahead for a COAL MINE!!!??? Who have they got lined up to work in it, MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS? THEIR CHILDREN? I can see why the feds made all that land federal a century again - GOOD MOVE. Who knows what would be going there now if they didn't...

It's just Utah's Environmental Ethic at work: Multiply, multiply and pillage the Earth.

Guess I won't be going to Bryce after all.

Stop whining. Over 50% of our electricity comes from coal. It may seem "last century", but unless you have a windmill in your backyard, most of your electricity comes from coal.

Anonymous, take another look at the posts(s). The issue is where we get our coal from.

Utah could have its power and its beauty, too!

Seems a renewables project encouraged instead of coal on that same 600 acres and in the surrounding area would support three of Gov. Herbert's four stated priorities for Utah directly -
• Economic Development
• Energy Security
• Infrastructure - through facilitation of a smart(er) grid and mitigation of the impacts to state roads, bridges and rail from the diesel-based, overland transport of all that coal.

It would also support his fourth priority, Public and Higher Education, by diverting moneys otherwise funneled to road, rail and bridge repair, toxic waste clean-up and land reclamation projects to fund education of all sorts.