By Emily Bleazard
Published on December 14, 2017

A popular rumor lately has focused on the potential for energy development on the former Bears Ears National Monument, now reduced and renamed Shash Jaa National Monument. The truth is the 1.35 million acres encompassed by the former monument does not hold significant energy development potential.

The Utah Geological Survey completed a study of the energy resources in the area. Unsurprising to the locals – but perhaps surprising to environmental activists – the study found the majority of energy potential resides outside the original monument boundary. In most cases, it would cost more to extract these energy resources than they are worth.

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The Utah Department of Natural Resources expands on the findings:

While there is minimal resource development potential for uranium and potash, there is currently no activity within the [former] boundary. Additionally, there are no coal or wind resources in the area and all the oil and gas wells within the boundary are plugged and abandoned. There are no producing or shut-in wells within the boundary.

Scare tactics are handy tools for creating frustration among large groups, but that type of frustration is not sustainable. Instead of continuing along the path of divisiveness, I suggest we all draw upon our shared love of our public lands and begin a meaningful dialogue that drives true collaboration. Our public lands need sustainability and certainty, and rumors and scare tactics don’t help.

For a deeper dive on the Utah Geological Survey, click here.


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