Absolute dating of fossils
What are we giving up by protecting this potentially useful historical, cultural, and scientific research site? The Daneros Mine in Red Canyon is an existing uranium mining operation in the Bears Ears area that was purposely left out of the monument.
But the monument effectively prevents further exploration and mining inside its boundary. Uranium prices have been falling since they peaked in 2007, and economics teaches us that this happens when demand falls or supply increases. demand for uranium is not likely to increase anytime soon, as reactors like San Onofre in California close and other reactors—such as two to be built in Jenkinsville, South Carolina—are abandoned in mid-construction.
So it’s clear why no one, as far as I know, is contemplating selling or leasing parts or all of Liberty Island.
But what about Bears Ears National Monument, the first target of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s effort to shrink national monuments and open them up for development?
So when someone asks what we need in terms of parks, my visceral answer is always: More!
The economist in me wants to ask: What are the trade-offs of making such changes in our parks? Let’s start by acknowledging there is always a trade-off between economic activity and the environment.
When you add this up—.1 billion—it is clear that the Statue of Liberty Monument (with a value of billion-plus) is worth more than the alternative condo skyscraper occupying the same land.
The reason why this is superior is that uranium seams play out, and if they are opened today they still might not be available when a national crisis requires them.
Thus the uncertainty of the need for the strategic ore drives the decision to preserve Bears Ears. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, this amounts to less than 40 jobs.
The value in studying this record is that we may obtain a better understanding of the fossils from this time spanning the Triassic and Jurassic periods.
Also, Bears Ears is home to more than 1,000 archeological sites dating from when early Native Americans lived in the area.