Crosspost from Facebook.
Well, he's done it. Shrunk Bear Ears. My 18 year old blog is legendary for concision, but in certain cases, I'm also known for pitching a fit. Well, here comes another one.
No, this isn't about 'local control.' This isn't about hunting. Or grazing. The landscape is unforgiving, so fracking isn't going to happen until prices rise. It's not even about 'freedom'.
It's about corporate profit, but more specifically it's about mining uranium cheaply. And most ironically, a quality of yellowcake that's so low, so unneeded (at present), it's being sold to international interests. South Korea! I'm not kidding. Look up "Uranium Bear Ears".
The muttered dire imprecations about "leftist" plans for Bear Ears ... if the monument were allowed to stand, air quality regs would have had to be enforced, increasing costs to the mine(s) and mill(s). Heaven forfend we inconvenience any corporation! Better we snort radioactive dust, bang our chests over our 'patriotism', and cough gobbets of blood as we die in the dirt like junkyard dogs.
We have, unfortunately, seen it all before. We know these pirates and their operating procedures here in NM. These are not upstanding people. The American West is awash in these creatures. When the uranium mine spilled at Crownpoint, they didn't bother to inform the populace, allowing children to play in the river, radiation and acid burns so bad they suffered amputations. And reparations were never fully made - as if you could put a $ figure on any of it. There's a big Federal/corporate thumb on the scales of American jurisprudence.
This behavior has not changed. Not one iota. Editorial sophistry will not change the realities we live in out here. The pundits have not researched beyond the ends of their noses. The editorialists recycle their navel lint. 99% of the articles these evening are simply stored trash they've been saving up for a couple of weeks.
Uranium mines, even the newest ones - I don't care what technological salesmanship they try to feed you - their ejecta kills people. The underground contamination destroys aquifers, making large tracts of land unusable for the foreseeable future. This sounds like the same old 'enviromeddler' griping, but their operating records are hideous. Look up Daneros Mine and White Mesa Mill, adjacent to Bear Ears - look up how filthy these facilities are. These can be expanded hugely with Bear Ears and Grand Staircase downsized, with only a couple of feints at cleanup. Processing this lower-quality stuff will be even more costly. A dozen years later, this will all be in our taxpayer laps, paying to Superfund it ... with the universal excuse, "Well, we did our best at the time."
We know how to mine cleanly; there are no mysteries after a hundred years or so. So why doesn't anyone actually DO it?
You folks on the two coasts believe that modern filtering, cleaning, maintenance techniques would surely be used? But you would be dead wrong. The extraction interests are fighting to keep the General Mining Act of 1872 [yes, 1872] as intact as possible (allowing terrifyingly dirty mining techniques) well into the future.
This is akin to holding Second Amendment supporters to owning a single Charleville musket. It simply doesn't reflect modern realities. Everyone - of any political stripe - should be outraged. I stand with my Native friends who wish to keep Bear Ears pristine.
But that issue likely didn't figure into this political move at all, so I won't express my opinion from that angle. I doubt Hatch, Zinke or Trump spared more than five minutes on Native interests.
The realist/cynic in me says all these moves of late point to a significant refocus on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy to come. I see Feds want to extend the WIPP storage facility in southern NM - even after they had their 'kitty litter' radioactive event. This all points to vivified nuclear endeavors.
See if there's a single editorialist planting that one under your nose. And let's see if I'm correct, in the coming months. I'm betting Senator Hatch didn't get active over this for pocket change. He smells big bucks for his state.