In “Oil was central in decision to shrink Bears Ears monument, emails show,” we learn that Sen. Orrin Hatch and the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) successfully lobbied to exclude these lands from federal protection.
Opening Bears Ears to extraction of fossil fuels would, they argued, provide for extra public school funding in Utah.
How perversely ironic this is. More fossil fuels extraction is linked to the children of Utah receiving a “quality education.”
At the same time, such extraction surely will accelerate global warming, thereby denying Utah’s children their inheritance of a “quality planet”!
In a landmark federal lawsuit, Juliana v. U.S., 21 youth are challenging the U.S. government for actions that have caused the climate crisis, thereby violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and a healthy atmosphere.
Perhaps Utah’s youth could now draw upon their education to join in solidarity with the youth activists and their legal challenges.
They might also demand that Sen. Hatch and SITLA officials learn and acknowledge why more fossil fuels extraction in Bears Ears will only accelerate the climate crisis for future generations.
John Donnelly, Sonoma, Calif.