The following are responses to questions e-mailed to Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) concerning Southern Red Sands (SRS) proposed sand mine north of Kanab. The questions were answered by Andy Bedingfield, a mineral resource specialist for SITLA, who is managing the lease.

Q: Does, or has, SITLA issued any permits for the mine or approved any plans, etc? What is your responsibility in the process?

A: No, SITLA has not issued any permits for the mine. The agency will review the mine plan when it is submitted.

Q: Is SITLA required to hold public hearings on proposed sales or leases?

A: No, SITLA is not required to hold public hearings on proposed sales or leases.

Q: As the landowner, is SITLA involved in the appeal of the change of use permit for the mine site approved by the Kane County Planning Commission and now before a conflict appeal authority?

A: SITLA is not involved in the appeal of the change of use permit.

Q: How much revenue for Utah’s schools will the mine generate and how much will go to Kane County schools?

A: It’s difficult to speculate about predicted overall revenue. SITLA deposits mining revenue into the $2.5 billion Permanent School Fund. Earnings from the Permanent Fund are distributed annually to Utah schools, based largely on student enrollment. Kane County schools have received $1.53 million since 2013, and $320,719 this school year. Q: The community has long been promoting the area’s unspoiled landscapes for tourism, recreation and dark sky qualities and many residents and businesses depend on preservation of those characteristics as important to their quality of life and economic viability. They believe the mine will produce losses greater than any gains. Does SITLA incorporate such concerns into its decisions when selling or leasing state lands?

A: SITLA works with local communities and directs the permitee to go through local planning and zoning. SITLA is mandated to pursue the best interests of trust land beneficiaries. For additional information on our purpose, please see Utah Code 53C-1-102.

Q: What’s an example of a project SITLA would not lease or sell land for and why?

A: SITLA reviews and considers all projects presented to the agency with consideration to its mandate to pursue the best interests of trust land beneficiaries.

Q: Do you approve many projects that cause the kind of backlash this has created in Kanab?

A: SITLA has thousands of leases throughout the 3.4 million-acre trust land portfolio, which are largely non-contentious.