2 march 2018

[4C Note: Wikipedia describes the Teapot Dome scandal as follows:
"The Teapot Dome Scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States from 1921 to 1922, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall had leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and two other locations in California to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies and became the first Cabinet member to go to prison. No person was ever convicted of paying the bribes, however."

Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show

By ERIC LIPTON and LISA FRIEDMAN, The New York Times, MARCH 2, 2018

WASHINGTON — Even before President Trump officially opened his high-profile review last spring of federal lands protected as national monuments, the Department of Interior was focused on the potential for oil and gas exploration at a protected Utah site, internal agency documents show.

The debate started as early as March 2017, when an aide to Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, asked a senior Interior Department official to consider shrinking Bears Ears National Monument in the southeastern corner of the state. Under a longstanding program in Utah, oil and natural gas deposits within the boundaries of the monument could have been used to raise revenue for public schools had the land not been under federal protection.

“Please see attached for a shapefile and pdf of a map depicting a boundary change for the southeast portion of the Bears Ears monument,” said the March 15 email from Senator Hatch’s office. Adopting this map would “resolve all known mineral conflicts,” the email said, referring to oil and gas sites on the land that the state’s public schools wanted to lease out to bolster funds.

The map that Mr. Hatch’s office provided, which was transmitted about a month before Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke publicly initiated his review of national monuments, was incorporated almost exactly into the much larger reductions President Trump announced in December, shrinking Bears Ears by 85 percent.


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