There has been a great deal of discussion about President Trump’s action on the national monuments. It seems important to provide some explanation. President Clinton reserved 1.7 million acres for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The 1906 Antiquities Act requires that the president to reserve “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

President Clinton far exceeded the territory needed to protect the objects and locked up thousands of acres of livestock grazing land that provided tax income to the local county and the state of Utah.

A study by Utah State University published in 2015 concluded that livestock grazing on the protected lands had provided “significant economic benefits” to the region. The value was in the tens of millions of dollars.

In addition, Sarah Foster of the New York Times reported that the monument enclosed the largest coal field in the nation containing at least 7 billion tons of coal worth over $1 trillion and would have created 1,000 jobs, $1 million in annual revenue for Kane County and at least $10 million per year in state and federal taxes.

This coal is a very low sulfur, low ash – hence a low polluting coal, the kind in high demand for power plants. The only other place that produces coal of this quality is owned by the Lippo Group, a powerful $5 billion Indonesian conglomerate founded and owned by the Riady Family who, it turned out, had raised and funneled millions of dollars into political campaign coffers.

Kenneth Larsen