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Access Fund Will Sue Federal Government to Defend Bears Ears National Monument


Tony B · · Around Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 23,195
jg fox wrote:

You know it isn't profitable to strip mine the area right?

The article was implying that weren't protected anymore, which isn't the case when they get discovered like they would if they started digging.  There are other protections than a National Monument status.

You don't have to strip mine it.  You have seen a modern dripp pad/well bank, right?

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60
JonasMR wrote:

Quite right.  Most folks on here probably want protection for the area almost as much as we want access. Throwing propaganda, rather than real news, into the mix just makes us look foolish.  

To follow up on Steve's last post, this perspective is incredibly naive. You believe that a mining company which invests $10s or $100s of millions and may earn $ billions is going to halt extraction when they find a few old bones.  Who's going to report let alone enforce that rule.  You are aware that there are a great many environmental and workplace regulations that companies routinely ignore?  Which is propaganda, the claim that these statutes exist and therefore will be enforced, or the claim that they will not?

JonasMR · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 6
Fat Dad wrote:

To follow up on Steve's last post, this perspective is incredibly naive. You believe that a mining company which invests $10s or $100s of millions and may earn $ billions is going to halt extraction when they find a few old bones.  Who's going to report let alone enforce that rule.  You are aware that there are a great many environmental and workplace regulations that companies routinely ignore?  Which is propaganda, the claim that these statutes exist and therefore will be enforced, or the claim that they will not?

I feel we may be talking at cross purposes.  Propaganda is a way of presenting information.  The linked article/video is propaganda.  That isn't about true or false, it's about the nature of the material.  IMHO posting propaganda as news lowers the caliber of any discussion that is likely to be had in this thread.  The fact that I'm on your 'side' doesn't mean I want a shittier conversation here on MP.

Steve Skarvinko · · SLC, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 25

Fat Dad, what are you smoking? 

The prohibited acts described in §291.27 do not apply to mining operations as they are exempt from the requirements under §291.3, provided they have approved permits.

I did not suggest that a mining company would "halt extraction when they find a few old bones". I fist quoted a paleontologist with an example of how fracking can destroy fossils without a discovery (unlike strip mining where you might actually uncover one). I added the second post to present fact on how the first post is accurate. While protections are in place due to legislation, it is my understanding that its legal to destroy fossils with a valid mining permit on BLM land, however this would not be the case with the designation of monument status as mining operations are a prohibited use. Perhaps you have me mixed up with jg fox?

Furthermore, how is quoting the Code of Federal Regulations even remotely considered propaganda? This is US Law. Congress has routinely placed upon citizens a responsibility to take an active role in reporting violations to the appropriate agency. Alternatively, citizens are empowered to enforce the law by bringing suit against a violator in state or federal courts. These citizen suits can result in severe penalties against violators or in this case, perhaps changing the status of the land use designation.

Ian Machen · · Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi , Japan · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 35

Yes, actually they will halt when they find a "few old bones." My wife is a long time archeologist, who has been hired on many mining sites in the past. It is a Federal requirement (in accordance with the NHPA) to have an archeologist on site when performing subsurface operations like this.

jg fox · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
Tony B wrote:

You don't have to strip mine it.  You have seen a modern dripp pad/well bank, right?

Ok, I just looked it up, that looks like it is used for petroleum and natural gas extraction, not coal.  Is a dripp pad used exclusively for fracking?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
jg fox wrote:

I need to clarify my post because people are getting upset.  I was pointing out that the article was flat out saying that a recent find by a paleontologist had somehow lost their federal protection status.

That isn't true because the fossils were discovered (thus under protection from sourced law) and I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was on a plot of land that isn't being used for extraction.  I don't think that land is going to get fracked because the permit for extraction wouldn't get approved with a cache of fossils being discovered.

What about the fossils or archeological artifacts that aren't discovered prior to excavating for uranium or drilling for gas and are destroyed in the process? That's what was meant in the article - not that discovered / found items aren't protected, but all the undiscovered stuff that is not protected from damage/destruction by exploration and mining operations by not having national monument status. Again, ask yourself why a Canadian uranium company lobbied so hard to alter the boundaries.

jg fox · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
Marc801 C wrote:

What about the fossils or archeological artifacts that aren't discovered prior to excavating for uranium or drilling for gas and are destroyed in the process? That's what was meant in the article - not that discovered / found items aren't protected, but all the undiscovered stuff that is not protected from damage/destruction by exploration and mining operations by not having national monument status. Again, ask yourself why a Canadian uranium company lobbied so hard to alter the boundaries.

I don't know why a Canadian company allegedly lobbied so hard.  The price needs to double to make it profitable, sounds pretty unsound to start mining.  Besides the higher quality deposits of uranium in North America are in Canada.

I'm for Bears Ears, I just want some honest arguments for it.

Steve Skarvinko · · SLC, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 25
Ian Machen wrote:

Yes, actually they will halt when they find a "few old bones." My wife is a long time archeologist, who has been hired on many mining sites in the past. It is a Federal requirement (in accordance with the NHPA) to have an archeologist on site when performing subsurface operations like this.

Ian, The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is a different law than the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act. Can you please clarify if this is a legal requirement during the exploration/permitting processes to characterize the area or if this is a requirement during active operations once approved? Does the requirement apply to surface operations like fracking?

Federally funded operations conducted on federal land also undergo a strict environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to characterize the area during an Environmental Assessment (EA) (10-15+ page report) to determine y/n to perform a costly and time consuming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (200-800+ page report) or a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).

Regardless, the point is that mining can have a profound impact on the land, even with existing laws created to lesson the damage. I'm frankly more concerned with the immediate access/visual/water/air quality issues than impacts to fossils & artifacts, although its more good reasons to add to the list. 

  • Anyone ever driven by huge open coal mines near Devils Tower and seen the eyesore?
  • Breathed air contaminated by sulfur dioxide near fracking sites in Pennsylvania?
  • Seen/smelled a coal slurry pond in Kentucky or West Virginia?
  • Seen the amount of coal burned in a single day at a powerplant such as the former Brayton Point Station in MA?

Just because there are legal protections... it doesn't mean that the operations won't have an impact to the area. I guess my opinion of what is acceptable may be different than a mining company... but corporations are people too, right? End rant.


Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

Steve, I was agreeing with your post.  Perhaps you were confusing my POV with Jonas', who I was quoting, that or Mr. Fox.  

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180
jg fox wrote:

I don't know why a Canadian company allegedly lobbied so hard.  The price needs to double to make it profitable, sounds pretty unsound to start mining.  Besides the higher quality deposits of uranium in North America are in Canada.

I'm for Bears Ears, I just want some honest arguments for it.

Probably the same reason why there isn't any active mining in BE. Most of this discussion is a paper tiger. 

Steve Skarvinko · · SLC, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 25

Hey Fat Dad / JG Fox I'm sorry for any dickish comments; I've been mending a broken thumb and have been getting angry at random things the last few weeks... not an excuse for douchebaggery, but I may have vented... Fuck politics, I just want to climb splitters in the creek again without worrying about access issues.    

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

I'll be very surprised if the courts rule that non profits can force the US Federal government to create a National preserve of some sort.  What will their argument be?

jg fox · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
Steve Skarvinko wrote:

Hey Fat Dad / JG Fox I'm sorry for any dickish comments; I've been mending a broken thumb and have been getting angry at random things the last few weeks... not an excuse for douchebaggery, but I may have vented... Fuck politics, I just want to climb splitters in the creek again without worrying about access issues.    

Lol, that's fair, I'm overdue for a visit myself.

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180
djh860 wrote:

I'll be very surprised if the courts rule that non profits can force the US Federal government to create a National preserve of some sort.  What will their argument be?

Hurt feels and soreloser'itis. 

j sittler · · Carbondale, CO · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0
djh860 wrote:

I'll be very surprised if the courts rule that non profits can force the US Federal government to create a National preserve of some sort.  What will their argument be?

It wouldn't be that the court forced the federal government to create a preserve (actually a national monument) but rather the argument is that Trump's executive order shrinking Bear's Ears (and others) was illegal. Therefore, a favorable ruling wouldn't "create" anything, but simply nullify his actions and return things to the pre-Trump status quo of the larger monument 

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60
jg fox wrote:

Lol, that's fair, I'm overdue for a visit myself.

You and me both.  Last time I was there was in the early 2000s, and where and when I also proposed to my wife.  My climbing time pretty much went downhill from there.  

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 442
djh860 wrote:

I'll be very surprised if the courts rule that non profits can force the US Federal government to create a National preserve of some sort.  What will their argument be?

Wait, so it's not okay to sue if the president exercises power that is not granted to him/her by Congress?

The founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they heard about this,

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110
eli poss wrote:

Wait, so it's not okay to sue if the president exercises power that is not granted to him/her by Congress?

The founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they heard about this,

So one President can create a park but one president cannot eliminate a park?  I did not know that.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240
djh860 wrote:

So one President can create a park but one president cannot eliminate a park?  I did not know that.

https://www.nps.gov/history/local-law/anti1906.htm

Technically the act doesn't explicitly give him the power to remove or doesn't ban him from removing a park. However history has other presidents who have removed park lands so... to ban Trump from doing it would mean they need to go back and reverse the removal other presidents have done.

Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 gives the president the ability to remove lands.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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