Thursday, August 5, 2010

Strip Mine approved near Bryce Canyon Nat'l Park

Yesterday the AP reported the Utah state board upheld Alton Coal Development LLC's application to begin mining near Bryce Canyon. Environmental groups decried the proposed mining saying it would kick up dust into the national park and impact water quality. The initial approval came down shortly after Alton Coal deposited a $10,000 check into Rep. Gov. Gary Herbert's campaign fund.

I'm not one who believes any mining is bad mining but certainly landing a strip mine near a national park, in spotted owl habitat, in the direct vicinity of rivers, makes this seem dirty. The mining lease was initially revoked roughly 25 years ago on the site because it is directly visible from Bryce Canyon. Alton Coal's mitigation measures seem to fall short of what one might expect of such a sensitive project. Adding to the intrigue, members of the state board which upheld the decision are accused of having a conflict of interest in the matter and have a financial interest in the coal industry according to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Any government official should try to "avoid the appearance of evil," the governor said. "But there will also be those who try to make two plus two equal five," and public officeholders can do little about that.

Ultimatley the State of Utah seems to have done itself a disservice as the trucking is likely to have an impact on tourism, the mining an impact on grazing in the actual town of Alton, and all this to create roughly 50 new jobs.

Beylah and I are planning to visit Bryce this winter and this has given us all the more incentive to go now rather than later.



  1. I couldn't imagine a more disappointing turn of events. If the governor really got a $10,000 check he won't be able to deny the linkage. That's revolting. If a national park can be compromised by te whim of a sitting governor, then that is a horrible precident.

  2. Turns my gut too. It will be a surface mining operation too because most of the coal is within 200ft of the surface.

  3. I'm not sure if either of you were listening to NPR this morning but they were talking about Wyoming's governor threatening to sell Grand Teton land as well! Yikes.... Check it out:

    P.S. Chris, I guess since you just publicly announced it, now we HAVE to go to Bryce in the Winter. ;)