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Letter: A helium mine in Labyrinth Canyon would be no Utah monolith

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2020, file photo, provided by Terrance Siemon, is a monolith that was placed in a red-rock desert in an undisclosed location in San Juan County southeastern Utah.
Terrance Siemon via Associated Press

Over the past week, the Deseret News has published a number of articles covering the journey of the mysterious silver monolith. The monolith was the epitome of art: It appeared out of thin air, captured the world’s attention and disappeared without a trace. The Twin Bridges Helium Mine above Labyrinth Canyon would not have the same mysterious effect. Rather, it would appear after months of exigent industrialization and leave behind a 10-acre processing plant.

The silver monolith stood, then disappeared in silence. A helium mine will not. It would disturb the peaceful stillness of the scenic canyon and wreak havoc on the wildlife that call it home.

The public had no say in the allocation of this lease. Under the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda, the BLM rushed through the leasing process by skipping public participation and truncating the required research and analysis. One month after the lease was granted, Congress passed the Dingle Act, which designated this exact area as wilderness.

While the world stands boggled by the metallic monolith, we too should watch and oppose any industrialization of Labyrinth Canyon, as well as the corrupt leasing process that ignored the opinions of the people that call it home.

Laura Anne Patterson

Salt Lake City