Letter: Why put coal mining ahead of everything else?

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert talks about the Sufco Mine in Emery Friday June 3, 2011. Coal has been mined continuously from the SUFCO mine since 1941.

People flock to Utah from around the globe to enjoy our incredible natural wonders. Residents hear that economic interests are the most important considerations and that business opportunities are important to our well-being.

What’s confusing regarding the recent news of the likely downsizing of both the new Bears Ears and the 21-year-old Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments (GSENM) is that Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke refused to meet with the Escalante Chamber of Commerce on his trip to Utah.

These business owners were clamoring to express their support for the Grand Staircase and relay that their 20-year business success relies on the monument designation.

The Trump administration’s refusal to recognize the valid opinions of recreation-based economic interests makes it appear as though only certain types of businesses matter, which perfectly aligns with Utah’s rejection of the $50 million annual contribution of the Outdoor Retailer show.

Our state and national leaders should explain why coal mining is a valid economic interest and locally-owned restaurants, hotels and outfitters are not.

Kate Ferguson

Salt Lake City

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