“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.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/9/1722816/-Zinke-says-energy-wasn-t-involved-in-Bears-Ears-decision-Nuclear-company-documents-say-otherwise

Wild Horse Hater “Dinky” Zinke seeks protections for public lands in his home state while attacking Utah monuments

Story by as published on Think Progress.org

Interior Secretary has a two-faced approach to public lands protection

President Donald Trump plans to visit Utah on Monday where he is expected to sign an executive order calling for major reductions in the size of the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The dramatically smaller sizes of the two Utah national monuments would be based on recommendations made by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

As part of his review of national monuments across the United States, the Interior secretary did not recommend a reduction in the size of any in his home state of Montana. In fact, Zinke, who represented Montana in Congress prior to taking over as Interior secretary earlier this year, recommended that Trump create a new 130,000-acre national monument in the Badger-Two Medicine area of northwestern Montana.

Both Bears Ears and Badger-Two Medicine are of cultural significance to Native American tribes. But only one is in Zinke’s home state.

“Everything that Secretary Zinke does in Montana is 180 degrees from what he does to the rest of the country,” Center for Western Priorities spokesperson Aaron Weiss told ThinkProgress. “Montana gets special treatment because he would like to be governor there some day.” The Center for Western Priorities is a nonprofit conservation and advocacy organization for communities in the Western United States.

The Department of the Interior did not respond to ThinkProgress’ request for comment on Zinke’s decision to seek a new national monument in Montana.

Altogether, Zinke advised Trump to shrink the boundaries of at least four national monuments, none of them in Montana. Secrecy shrouded the Interior secretary’s review of the status of national monuments. The Interior Department has never made Zinke’s full report available to the public. The report, however, was leaked to the Washington Post in September. In the report, Zinke did not recommend a reduction in the size of the Upper Missouri River Breaks, the only national monument located in Montana on the list for review by the Interior secretary…(CONTINUED)

https://thinkprogress.org/zinke-supports-montana-monuments-2610fc1d6351/

Horse Slaughter Proponent “Dinky” Zinke Gives Away Wildlife Habitat to his Colluding Lobbyist Buddies

Story provided by Western Values Project

“Wild Horse & Burro Hater ‘Dinky’ Zinke is hell bent on making nature an after-thought near protected public lands…”

Over the next month, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is preparing to announce a series of oil and gas lease sales across the West. Given the administration’s favoritism to special interests in Washington, D.C., these proposed lease sales are poised to be an early holiday gift to the same oil and gas industry that helped propel it into office. For the rest of the West, these leases unnecessarily threaten some of our most pristine public landscapes, including several national parks, monuments, and communities.

A list of Secretary Zinke’s early holiday gifts to his lobbyist friends bordering or near our nation’s parks:

Basin and Range National Monument
Location of proposed leases: On border
Sale Date: December 12, 2017
Status: Auction pending
More Information

Great Basin National Park
Location of proposed lease: 4.5 miles
Sale Date: December 2017
Status: Environmental Assessment comment period ends September 18, 2017
More Information

Map
Nevada BLM’s December 2017 Lease Sale. Includes parcels (red) near Great Basin NP and bordering Basin and Range National Monument.

Canyons of the Ancient National Monument
Location of proposed leases: Bordering
Sale Date: March 19-23, 2018
Status: Final lease sale notice initiating protest period expected November 30, 2017
More Information

Hovenweep National Monument
Location of proposed leases: 5 miles
Sale Date: March 19-23, 2018
Status: Final lease sale notice initiating protest period expected November 30, 2017
More Information

Map
Utah BLM’s March 2018 Lease Sale. Includes parcels (red) near Hovenweep National Monument (blue) and directly along the western boundary of Canyons of the Ancients NM (purple).

Bears Ears National Monument
Location of proposed leases: 0.1 miles
Sale Date: March 19-23, 2018
Status: Final lease sale notice initiating protest period expected November 30, 2017
More Information

Map
Utah BLM’s March 2018 Lease Sale. Includes parcels (red) near the boundary of Bears Ears NM (purple).

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
Location of proposed leases: Bordering
Sale Date: March 13, 2018
Status: Final lease sale notice initiating protest period expected December 13, 2017
More Information

Map
Montana/North Dakota BLM’s March 2018 Lease Sale. Parcel (red) bordering Upper Missouri River Breaks NM (purple).

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Location of proposed leases: Bordering
Sale Date: March 13, 2018
Status:Final lease sale notice initiating protest period expected December 13, 2017
More Information

Map
Montana/Dakotas BLM’s March 2018 Lease Sale. BLM proposing to lease a parcel (red) directly bordering the northern unit of Theodore Roosevelt NP (purple).

Dinosaur National Monument
Location of proposed leases: 1.3 miles
Sale Date: December 12, 2017
Status: Auction pending
More Information

Map
Utah BLM’s December 2017 Lease Sale. BLM proposing to lease parcels (red) near the western boundary of Dinosaur NM (purple).

Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Location: 0.3 miles
Sale Date: March 19, 2018
Status: Final lease sale notice initiating protest period expected November 29, 2017
More Information

Map
Wyoming BLM’s March 2018 Lease Sale. Includes parcels (red) less than ½ mile from the Fort Laramie National Historic Site (purple).

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Location: 5 miles
Sale Date: December 12, 2017
Status: Auction pending
More Information

Map
Montana-Dakotas BLM is proposing to lease this parcel (red), which is about 5 miles from the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site (purple), as part of its December 2017 Lease Sale.

http://westernvaluesproject.org/zinkes-gift-to-his-oil-gas-friends/