Horse News

“Dinky” Zinke says energy wasn’t involved in Bears Ears decision. Nuclear company documents say otherwise

By Meteor Blades  as published on The Daily KOS

“…there was heavy lobbying in favor of reducing the monument’s acreage by the owner of the nation’s only remaining uranium mill. …”

Interior Secretary Ryan “Dinky” Zinke snaps at pro monument activist ~ Francisco Kjolseth

Secretary of Interior Ryan “Dinky”  Zinke has made it a point to declare that energy concerns had nothing to do with his recommendation to President Trump that Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be cut by 85 percent and the remnant hacked into bits. There’s no mine in Bears Ears, he told reporters after Trump issued two proclamations Tuesday cutting Bears Ears and another national monument in Utah, the Grand Staircase-Escalante.

But The Washington Post has obtained documents showing there was heavy lobbying in favor of reducing the monument’s acreage by the owner of the nation’s only remaining uranium mill. It sits just outside the boundary of Bears Ears as designated last year by President Obama, but miles away from the new boundary under Trump’s truncated designation.

Juliet Eilperin’s report on the documents shows that Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of a Canadian firm, lobbied the Trump regime to shrink the monument—which is rich with scenic beauty and ancient American Indian archeological sites—to make it easier to access deposits of uranium ore:

In a May 25 letter to the Interior Department, Chief Operating Officer Mark Chalmers wrote that the 1.35 million-acre expanse Obama created “could affect existing and future mill operations.” He later noted, “There are also many other known uranium and vanadium deposits located within the [original boundaries] that could provide valuable energy and mineral resources in the future.” […]

Energy Fuels Resources did not just weigh in on national monuments through public-comment letters. It hired a team of lobbyists at Faegre Baker Daniels — led by Andrew Wheeler, who is awaiting Senate confirmation as the Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy secretary — to work on the matter and other federal policies affecting the company. It paid the firm $30,000 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, according to federal lobbying records, for work on this and other priorities.

The company’s vice president of operations, William Paul Goranson, joined Wheeler and two other lobbyists, including former congresswoman Mary Bono (R-Calif.), to discuss Bears Ears in a July 17 meeting with two top Zinke advisers.

Although there are a few rich deposits in the world that are as much as 18 percent uranium, most sources, like those in Utah, are well below 1 percent. A mill uses various techniques to turn the ore into yellowcake—U308, triuranium octoxide. The milling process also leaves behind massive piles of tailings—powdery, slightly radioactive waste. The yellowcake is shipped to processing centers that turn it into uranium hexaflouride, which is then enriched to a level useful as fuel in commercial power reactors, a higher level for test reactors and production of medical isotopes, or to a much higher level for use in making nuclear weapons.

Right now, the price of yellowcake is about $25 a pound, well below Energy Fuels Resources’ $40-$50 break-even point. Unless that changes, no new mines are likely to be excavated in the parts of Bears Ears sheared away by Trump’s proclamations. But EFR is looking with hope at the Asian market, where a number of new uranium-fueled nuclear power plants are planned or already under construction and could boost uranium prices.

The U.S. market won’t help. Construction on two new nukes in South Carolina was begun in 2013. After delays and massive cost overruns, the half-completed project was shuttered this summer. Finishing them would have doubled their original estimated cost of $9.8 billion. In all likelihood, come the new year, two nukes being built in Georgia that are in the same delay-and-overrun bind as South Carolina’s will also be shuttered without producing a single kilowatt of electricity. No other U.S.  power projects are in the works and are unlikely to be any time soon, if ever.

It may make no difference at Bears Ears. If some already launched lawsuits against shrinking the monuments upends Trump’s proclamations—as many close observers strongly believe will be the case—Bears Ears will return to its originally designated boundaries, and there won’t be any uranium ore mined from deposits near the Energy Fuels Resources mill.

12 replies »

  1. So, the Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of a Canadian firm hired a team of lobbyists which was led by Andrew Wheeler, who is now awaiting Senate confirmation as the Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy secretary?
    This is “regulatory capture” which is corruption. Specifically, it is a government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “But EFR is looking with hope at the Asian market, where a number of new uranium-fueled nuclear power plants are planned or already under construction and could boost uranium prices.”
    Remember Eric Prinze setting up an arrangement in the Seychelles (supposedly his own business-but originally thru Trump) in order to build nuclear power plants in Asia??????? Sounds rather cozy to me!


  3. How the he** did this man ever pass even rudimentary vetting to be considered worthy of this important position? Destroying our country in toto is the furthest thing from making it “great,” or was that a typo and instead they really meant “grate?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wait a minute, Icy – look at the whole picture of this crew! NONE of them are worthy of pretty much anything – they don’t care about this country or the “little” people who live here. I remember seeing these rehabbed “luxury hideaways” for the people who “have everything” so they have a place to save themselves from the Apocalypse!!!!! Not such a far reach at this time. Bet some of them actually have one of them.


  4. Liar,stand up for our horses and all our animals now. Our land too
    It should not be taken away if it is a park,protected areas.No public land for ranchers, big oil companies, leave the horses alone. Figure out a way to help our polar bears instead wanting to destroy the Artic Refuge. Pray to God to help.


  5. Title 18 or the United States Code regarding falsification of legal documents. Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial Title18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.) US Code.


    • As far as Zinke’s concerned if they are draining the swamp he’s Not the Only Alligator that will remain consuming Federal lands, destroying American Values, and killing horses and the American Spirit. That’s their intent to Kill the American Spirit. Real bonafide ranchers are embarrassed by Zinke, the Government, the BUNDYS and the welfare ranchers. They have stated it’s a scheme they don’t want to take part in. Welfare Ranchers snap their teeth like crocodiles at anyone who attempts to prove they are just Government leaches bleeding our country dry to export beef. They are competing with Real ranchers who raise their cattle legitimately on their land and don’t base survival on the welfare ranching system but instead on true ranching. They are also angry about the pure magical manipulation of the American spirit by men wearing Cowboy hats just because they could simply buy one. The uniform of a rancher is confidence, perserverity, and compassion. The uniform of welfare ranchers is greed, handlebar mustache to hide their shifty snarl, and a cowboy hat fresh from a clothing rack or purposefully run over by a pickup truck to look like they did some work.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ” On Saturday Lance Gilman, principal and director of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, the industrial park home to projects by Tesla, Google, Switch and other major companies, joined the horse advocates in opposition.

      “This is one of the last bastions of true wild horse environment,” said Kris Thompson, project manager for the industrial center. “To wipe it out I think would be a mistake.”

      Thompson estimated there are as many as 1,000 Virginia Range horses on the property of the industrial center at any given time.

      Thompson said leaders of companies that have built in the area, including Tesla’s Elon Musk, have specifically described the horses as a positive presence that distinguish Northern Nevada from other potential locations for businesses.

      “They are emblematic of the fact we are not San Francisco or Chicago,” Thompson said.”


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