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Strip Mine Near Bryce Canyon May Expand

By December 8, 2011

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Bryce Amphitheater
Lauren Himiak

A strip mine located at Bryce Canyon National Park's backdoor is receiving big attention. In fact, the Sierra Club is threatening another lawsuit to turn back the strip mine. "It would be like putting a strip mine next to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. People would be outraged," stated Bruce Hamilton, deputy executive director for the Sierra Club. "We're trying to make this a national issue."

A group of Florida investors is stripping coal from private land near Bryce Canyon, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has set the stage for the company to grab another 50 million tons of coal on 3,500 acres of surrounding public lands. The park's superintendent has objected, and leading environmental groups are now asking the Utah Supreme Court to halt the mining that started on 440 acres of private land.

Opponents, including the NPCA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, argue that the mine and trucks are kicking up dust, muddying seeps and wet meadows, and destroying sage grass that feeds a large deer herd. The Utah Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in late 2012.

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