By Sarah Terry
April 17, 2018
I was inspired to write my story, “Salt Lake City youth respond to revealed intentions behind Bears Ears and Grand Escalante-Staircase shrinkage” after the damning New York Times article “Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show.” The investigative staff analyzed more that 25,000 pages in total to provide rock solid evidence that indeed, the Interior Department’s intent was to source natural resources — coal, mineral, and oil — from the prior national monuments, despite Ryan Zinke promising he wanted to resize the monuments to appropriate amounts, and had nothing to do with potential coal or oil reserves.
There was a lot of information to analyze, but thankfully there were a lot of professional news sources that helped to compile and find the highlights. I did have to double check, but that wasn’t too difficult to do since most of the journals cited their sources.
Locating sources was easy; most of my friends are directly involved in at least some aspects of activism, whether that’s environmentalism or not. All of the people I asked said yes and were more than willing to go on the record.
The only real ‘moral issue’ I had writing the paper was trying to stay neutral. Obviously, I am passionate about the outdoors and its well-being. I had to do a lot of research to understand exactly why politicians and citizens were ok with the dismantling of the national parks. However, once I got into that headspace I think I was able to accurately report the most important facts.
I am thankful that I wrote about this topic! The Utah outdoor “cannon” is so vicious (for good reason) to outdoor-opposition in any form. It’s good to find direct statements from representatives so you can know exactly what they believe and hold them accountable.
It is so easy to be so blind to the positives of the opposition, especially when you’re passionate. Understanding motives helped to “de-villify” Utah politicians to an extent, but definitely not Trump’s cabinet.
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