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The Clinton-Riady Coal Conspiracy


Ron Ecker
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The Clintons' Coal-Gate

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:20 PM PT

As Bush wrapped up his Middle East trip, Sen. Clinton commented: "President Bush is over in the Gulf now begging the Saudis and others to drop the price of oil. How pathetic."

A large part of America's energy dependence on foreign sources can be traced to Sept. 18, 1996, when President Bill Clinton stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon on the Arizona side and signed an executive proclamation making 1.7 million acres of Utah a new national monument.

While sitting on the Arizona side of the Grand Canyon, Bill Clinton signed an order that federalized 1.7 million acres of Utah.

Why would he dedicate a Utah monument while standing in Arizona? Well, this federal land grab was done without any consultation with the governor of Utah or any member of the Utah congressional delegation or any elected official in the state. The unfriendly Utah natives might have spoiled his photo-op.

The state already had six national monuments, two national recreation areas and all or part of five national forests. Three-quarters of Utah already was in federal hands. Still, the land grab was sold as a move to protect the environment.

At the time, the Clintons were worried that Ralph Nader's presence on the ballot in a few Western states would draw green votes from Clinton in a race that promised to be close after the GOP retook Congress two years earlier.

In fact, the declaration of 1.7 million Utah acres as a national monument, thereby depriving an energy-starved U.S. up to 62 billion tons of environmentally safe low-sulfur coal worth $1.2 trillion and minable with minimal surface impact, was a political payoff to the family of James Riady.

He's the son of Lippo Group owner Mochtar Riady. James was found guilty of — and paid a multimillion dollar fine for — funneling more than $1 million in illegal political contributions through Lippo Bank into various American political campaigns, including Bill Clinton's presidential run in 1992.

Clinton took off the world market the largest known deposit of clean-burning coal. And who owned and controlled the second-largest deposit in the world of this clean coal? The Indonesian Lippo Group of James Riady. It is found and strip-mined on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan.

The Utah reserve contains a kind of low-sulfur, low-ash and therefore low-polluting coal that can be found in only a couple of places in the world. It burns so cleanly that it meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act without additional technology.

"The mother of all land grabs," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said at the time. He has called what was designated as the Grande Staircase of the Escalante National Monument the "Saudi Arabia of coal."

When Clinton signed the proclamation, he promised to exchange other federal lands for the land that was taken. But a fair exchange was impossible, Hatch said, since no other land in Utah had a trillion dollars worth of clean coal.

Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah, pointed out that a large portion of the coal-rich Kaiparowits Plateau within the monument belonged to the children of Utah. When Utah became a state in 1896, about 220,000 acres were set aside for development, and a trust fund was created to collect and hold all the revenues directly for the benefit of schools.

Margaret Bird, trust officer for the fund, said that because the land will not be developed, the schools stand to lose as much as $1 billion over the next 50 years. Phyllis Sorensen, head of the Utah chapter of the National Education Association, called Clinton's action a "felonious assault" and "stealing from the schoolchildren."

Stealing from children to reward Indonesian billionaires. How pathetic.

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.a...285982232964929

Edited by Ron Ecker
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