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Environmental Organizations Speak Out Against $53 M Dollar Utah Loan

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The fifty-three million dollar loan was authorized by the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board or CIB. Aaron Paul is the staff attorney for the Grand Canyon Trust and he said that the CIB is acting outside of its jurisdiction by approving the loan. Paul said the board, under law, is supposed to use the funding for community improvement.

“They should be spending the money on public infrastructure that’s traditionally provided by local governments," he said. "We take the view that building a sea port in Oakland, California is not public facility or service, that is traditionally provided by Utah’s local government entities.”

The loan is contingent upon a legal opinion that will be made by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. 

The environmental organizations wrote a letter to Reyes expressing their concern about what they believe is the misuse of CIB funds to promote coal mining and coal exports from Utah to California and potentially overseas.

“Promoting coal development in Utah has local impacts, so we were concerned when we heard about this loan, not only about what we perceive as an improper use of mineral leasing act funding, essentially to exacerbate the very harms that that money is supposed to alleviate. But also the local environmental impacts of mining coal.”

Four Utah counties—Carbon, Emery, Sevier, and Sanpete arranged the loan and are hoping to expand coal export internationally.