Jodi Peterson – High Country News
Moab, Utah seems to be coming full circle. Early prospectors discovered useful minerals – uranium, vanadium, potash and manganese – near the farming and ranching outpost, and in the 1950s, Moab became known as the “Uranium Capital of the World.” Thirty years later, the boom was over, the mines closed down, and homes stood empty.
Moab then reinvented its economy to exploit another natural resource – the stunning redrock scenery. The area became a major tourist destination with two national parks, a state park, and world-class mountain biking, jeeping, ATV riding, river rafting and rock climbing.
Now, the Moab area seems to be swinging back toward industrialization, with a stack of new proposals for wells, mines and pipelines — even as it’s still mopping up the 16-million-ton uranium tailings pile left by the last boom. The Grand County council and some business leaders believe that energy development and recreation can coexist, but many locals fear that a wholesale return to extraction will drive away tourists and ruin the landscape. The Deseret News reports: (…)