I see what they mean about political corruption
I used to be a desert rat. I still am, but I don't get back to our magnificent southwest desert region as often as I would like to.
The beauty of the desert and its fragile ecosystem has to be seen to be appreciated. I've spent a lot of time in the deserts and canyons of southern Utah. I've been drawn to the peace, beauty, and solitude which is wholly unique to that area.
In the mid 1990s I worked to preserve 5.2 million acres of pristine canyons and desert for future generations to enjoy. We eventually won, with over 8 million acres being protected. This was at a time when local counties who objected to federal interference were plowing "hoax highways" into the fragile and beautiful desert, as a legal loophole from the 1860s known as Revised Statute 2477 (RS 2477) precluded a roaded area from being designated as wilderness.
One of my trips involved wilderness mapping of the remote and rugged Kaiparowitz Plateau for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in order to identify existing and recently plowed roads. The Kaiparowitz Plateau is a magnificent area which actually consists of three elevations: the desert floor, a middle elevation, and a higher plateau with Pinion-Juniper vegetation. There is little mammalian life there except for some cattle that ranchers graze on public Bureau of Land Management land.
It was 107 degrees in the shade. The no-see-ums were fierce. We persevered.
We camped one night on the edge of a huge cliff where a strange sulfurous odor wafted up from below. Later we found out that lightning had struck decades ago, igniting underground coal seams. They still burned.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton designated the area as a national monument, under authority of the Antiquities Act. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument encompasses the largest land area of all U.S. National Monuments, and includes the Kaiparowitz Plateau.
Many of us at the time appreciated the altruistic, forward-looking action of President Clinton.
The rest of the story
There's more - there always is in politics. In the October 24, 2016 article Think You Know How Bad the Clintons Are?, Jack Cashill describes the reality - and the corruption - behind the declaration of the area as a national monument:
"The White House is like a subway. You have to put in coins to open the gates."
Such were the immortal words of one Johnny Chung, who admitted to a Senate committee in 1997 that he funneled $100,000 from the Chinese military to the Democratic National Committee. In the Clinton White House, it was pay to play all the way. That either Bill or Hillary had a political life after their treasonous run on Asian piggy banks is a testament to the ever escalating corruption of the American media...
... In the most outrageous deal of all, two months before the election, the president "unilaterally" declared a new 1.7-million-acre national monument in Southern Utah. CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not shy from the implicit controversy. He reported that the people of Utah were "furious." They claimed that it was "a land grab" by the federal government "at the economic expense of the state."
Blitzer raised the issue of coal, perhaps $1 trillion's worth of clean, low-sulfur coal that would never be mined. Blitzer, however, did not know the deeper significance of the coal. Clinton did. Said the president of this grand environmental gesture, "We can't have mines everywhere, and we shouldn't have mines that threaten our national treasures." No, not everywhere, just in Indonesia. In a stroke of the pen, Clinton had handed the Riadys a monopoly on the world's supply of low-sulfur coal.
Although Blitzer did not make the connection, the FBI did. As an FBI agent observed after his interview with John Huang, "HUANG laughed in response to questions concerning j. riady's interest in Utah coal restrictions."
Huang and the Clintons and their cronies are laughing still. They have convinced some healthy percentage of the Republican establishment that making a crude comment eleven years ago is a greater sin than betraying America for campaign cash.
It seems that political corruption was - and according to Wikileaks, still is - an integral component of the Clinton cartel.