June 10, 2017 / 1:07 PM / a month ago

FACTBOX - Review of U.S. national monuments could unlock new energy reserves

3 Min Read

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will make a recommendation to the White House on Saturday on whether to rescind or resize the Bears Ears monument in Utah, setting the tone for the Trump administration's broader study of which lands protected by past presidents should be reopened to development. It is unclear when the decision will be made public.

While the land encompassed by the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears monument is not believed to contain massive amounts of coal, oil or gas, several other monuments on Zinke's review list may, making the Bears Ears decision important to industry groups. Here is a list:

Basin and Range:

Barack Obama designated this 704,000 acres of southeastern Nevada a national monument in 2015. The area sits in the Chainman Shale play, which is believed by some in the drilling industry to be a promising reserve.

Bears Ears:

Barack Obama designated this 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah a national monument in late 2016, shortly before leaving office. The area, which surrounds a pair of iconic buttes, has moderate oil and gas potential, and one oil company, EOG Resources, was granted drilling leases within its boundaries shortly before the designation.

Canyons of the Ancients:

Bill Clinton designated this 178,000-acre area in southwestern Colorado a national monument in 2000, but because it was already an active zone for the oil and gas industry, he granted drillers an allowance to continue to operate there, with limitations.

Carrizo Plain:

Bill Clinton designated this 204,000-acre area in California a national monument in 2001. It is located in an area that has seen oil exploration in the past and has some moderate potential for commercial reservoirs. Occidental Petroleum has pre-existing drilling rights on part of the monument, but has not yet made a big find.

Grand Staircase-Escalante:

Bill Clinton designated this 1.9 million acre swath of southern Utah a national monument in 1996. It holds roughly 62 billion tons of coal, along with coal bed gas, and potentially commercial quantities of oil, according to the Utah Geological Survey.

Upper Missouri River Breaks:

Bill Clinton designated this 495,000 acre area of central Montana a national monument in 2001. In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the area held somewhere between 58.2 and 719.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas, along with between 14 and 180 million barrels oil.

Editing by Andrew Bolton

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