The Utah land involved in a U.S. District Court decision on suitability for mining, discussed in Tuesday's editions, is not a formally designated wilderness area even though a person quoted in the story referred to it as wilderness.
A federal court in Utah refused yesterday to allow Interior Secretary James G. Watt to reconsider a highly controversial coal mining permit decision affecting Bryce Canyon National Park.
The verdict in U.S. District Court at Salt Lake City means Watt will have to defend in court the lease arrangement he had hoped to alter.
Watt asked the court last September to send back a decision by former interior secretary Cecil D. Andrus that an area near Bryce Canyon containing 24 million tons of coal was unsuitable for mining.
A consortium of Utah and California utilities and business interests had planned to use this Alton coal field to feed a mammoth power plant that would serve southern California. Andrus said his decision, made in December, 1980, would allow the plant to go forward while still protecting the park from the mine.
Developers and environmentalists filed suit challenging Andrus' decision, the former saying it was too restrictive to permit the project to proceed and the latter saying it was not restrictive enough. In asking to review the verdict, Watt said there had been "broad-based dissatisfaction" with it.
But the court ruled that the decision was properly made, based upon adequate information.
Tom Graff of the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco hailed the verdict, saying it meant that "Watt's zeal to open the wilderness has over-reached and been brought to heel, quite properly so."
Interior spokesmen said no decision has been made on whether to appeal.