Do We Really Need Monuments?

Posted: February 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

The window opened Friday for oil, gas, uranium and coal companies to make requests or stake claims to lands that were cut from two sprawling Utah national monuments by President Trump in December — but there doesn’t appear to be a rush to seize the opportunities.

For anyone interested in the uranium on the lands stripped from the Bears Ears National Monument, all they need to do is stake a few corner posts in the ground, pay a $212 initial fee and send paperwork to the federal government under a law first created in 1872 that harkens back to the days of the Wild West.

They can then keep rights to the hard minerals, including gold and silver, as long as they pay an annual fee of $155.

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  1. Chance Miller says:

    The more I learn about the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante I’m baffled about the motive behind the decision. In either monument there is little or no evidence of oil and gas, the coal deposits in Escalante are sulfur rich, and Uranium mining seems a no-go for various reasons. There is little overlap with Utah or privately owned land. There is no impact for outdoor recreation, existing commercial activities, residents of the sparsely populated counties, and even off-highway vehicles are still allowed. The proposed cuts are piecemeal and appear nonsensical. Local Native American tribes support the monument, with few detractors. But the danger is real for archaeological and paleontological sites that have already been irreparably damaged.

    • I’m sure we’ve got plenty of oil underground, this being dinosaur country. Whether we are or are not sitting on a dirty fortune of petroleum and uranium, it strikes me that monuments are principally of symbolic value. To destroy someone’s monument is to show you have power over them. Look at all the outrage ignited by the recent removal of monuments to the Confederacy. It would not surprise me if legislators and executive on the state and nation level deliberately decided radically to compromise these monuments as a sheer display of power. They did it because they could. It sends a powerful message. We’ll discuss monuments and their destruction in few weeks, when we get to the writings of Michael Fried and his discussion of Minimalism and public art.

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