The internal Interior Department emails and memos also show the central role that concerns over gaining access to coal reserves played in the decision by the Trump administration to shrink the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about 47 percent, to just over 1 million acres.
Mr. Zinke’s staff developed a series of estimates on the value of coal that could potentially be mined from a section of Grand Staircase called the Kaiparowits plateau. As a result of Mr. Trump’s action, major parts of the area are no longer a part of the national monument.
“The Kaiparowits plateau, located within the monument, contains one of the largest coal deposits in the United States,” an Interior Department memo, issued in the spring of 2017, said. About 11.36 billion tons are “technologically recoverable,” it projected.