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Recently, Paul Young attacked the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance as being "socialist, radical, anti-industry, and into central command and control." Mr. Young was forced to stoop to vicious name-calling and individual attacks in the absence of having a grip on the facts regarding the proposed Andalex coal mine.

Mr. Young reported, errantly, that the Andalex project would generate $118 million in revenues. That figure, generated by the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), is a gross figure because it does not incorporate all state-level taxpayer costs and neglects all local costs; the figure is further inflated by its lack of adjustment for inflation. The OPB study clearly failed to produce an objective net cost-benefit analysis on the Andalex project.To put it another way, the $100 million that taxpayers will have to shell out for the road component of the Andalex project, if placed in just a 5 percent interest-bearing account over the life of the project, would be worth $432 million at the end of the 30-year period, rather than Mr. Young's $118 million.

OPB's partial figures, however, are based on the wildly spurious assumption that the Andalex project is feasible. More likely than not, taxpayers will be caught holding the bill for the $100 million road infrastructure, with Andalex nowhere to be seen (probably back in the Netherlands). Either way, opportunity costs are such that the Andalex project would be a big loser for Utah taxpayers.

Zachary Frankel

Salt Lake City