Mining set to begin in land Trump removed from national monument

Mining set to begin in land Trump removed from national monument
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A Canadian company is looking to begin mining in land that was previously protected as part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.

President Clinton established the monument in 1996, but in December President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE cut the 1.87 million-acre site nearly in half, removing many of the federal protections.

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Glacier Lake Resources Inc., a copper and silver mining firm based in Vancouver, announced its acquisition of the Colt Mesa deposit last week in a press release, saying that the area “recently became open for staking and exploration after a 21 year period moratorium.”

The president and CEO of Glacier Lake Resources, Saf Dhillon, told NPR News on Thursday the project was "a welcome addition to the company's ever growing portfolio."

“The target is a high value, underground scenario with modest disturbance,” Dhillon said. 

Nada Culver, counsel and senior director for agency policy of the Wilderness Society, claimed in a statement to NPR that mining remains prohibited in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, arguing that the president does not have the power to reduce the size of the state’s national monuments.

Culver added that “any mining claims are invalid, just like President Trump's attempt to dismantle the monument, which we are already challenging in court. This company's actions, and any others that try to mine within monument boundaries, will be scrutinized. We are monitoring this situation and will not stand by and watch mining companies rush to leave irreplaceable scars and damage the natural values of these lands.”

“For those who doubt the intended beneficiaries of the attack on our national monuments, we now have some more evidence of the real reason the administration is trying to sacrifice our public lands,” Culver said.

NPR says Culver, along with Native American tribes, scientists, and other conservationists, are filing lawsuits against the administration, arguing that only Congress has that power.