What’s Utah’s future beyond coal?

Source: Good 4 Utah

Should national monuments be used to create jobs — or is it more important to safeguard the environment? A new report released by the Alliance for a Better Utah says the state can do both if there is less emphasis on coal and more on outdoor recreation.

The report shows that Utah’s growing outdoor-recreation economy dwarfs the declining coal industry, all the while coal is the most often proposed way to create jobs on public lands.

“In fact, outdoor recreation provides 76 times as many jobs in Utah as coal, while tourism alone brings in $850 million more than coal in annual state and local tax revenue,” the report said.

The ABU says demand for coal has lessened, while Utah’s largest coal customer, Calif. is in the process of eliminating the use of coal.

“Because the demand is dwindling, rather than the supply, proposals to mine coal that lies under the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument cannot solve the problem,” they said.

According to the report this was tried several times and failed every time.

Meanwhile, the ABU says the solar industry created more new-jobs in Utah last year than the total employed by coal.

The new report emphasizes the importance of preserving public lands in Utah—including the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante.

“While there is coal beneath Utah’s national monuments, it is not buried treasure,” the report said. “Falling demand makes coal the fuel of the past. Likewise, technology that replaces workers with automation makes plentiful coal jobs a thing of the past.”

Click here to view the full report.

Read article here and watch video footage here.

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