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Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

The Trump administration pushed to excise coal deposits from a Utah monument, New York lawmakers want to help minors get vaccinated, and a Navy ship is quarantined at sea.
Sandstone formations are shown here in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on May 10th, 2017, outside Boulder, Utah. After close consultation with conservative ideological groups, Ryan Zinke's Department of the Interior drastically reduced the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Sandstone formations are shown here in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on May 10th, 2017, outside Boulder, Utah.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on why New York City is going meatless on Mondays, how men's rights groups use the rhetoric of "equality" to punish women, and why so many Trump supporters are OK with his lies.

But it's been an eventful week, and our small team can only cover so much news. Here are a few more stories we've been watching.

The Trump Administration Pushed to Excise Coal Deposits From a Utah Monument

According to a document disclosed during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Wednesday, the Trump administration directed Bureau of Land Management employees to exclude coal-rich areas from Grand Staircase–Escalante National monument, E&E News reports. At the hearing, Representative Jared Huffman (D-California) read from an Office of Inspector General report, which revealed that a geographic information specialist from the BLM said he was told to downsize the monument to less than one million acres (from its previous size of 1.9 million) and to leave out "certain coal leases" from 1996, the year the monument was created.

When President Donald Trump reduced Grand Staircase–Escalante via executive order in 2017, areas that were known to be rich in paleontological resources were left outside of the revised boundaries. "These coal areas are all pretty high dinosaur resource areas," the geographic information specialist said, according to E&E News. "We were told they're out regardless."

As multiple measles outbreaks continue in New York and elsewhere, lawmakers have introduced a bill in the state legislature that would enable children age 14 or older to get vaccinated for diseases such as measles and mumps without parental approval, the New York Times reports.

As Emily Moon recently reported for Pacific Standard, a "patchwork of state laws governs minor consent" when it comes to health, and some teenagers have taken to social media sites like Reddit to seek guidance on getting vaccinated.

A U.S. Navy Warship Has Been Quarantined at Sea for Months

In other infectious disease news, sailors and marines aboard the U.S.S. Fort McHenry, currently in the Persian Gulf, have effectively been quarantined for more than two months as parotitis (a viral infection with mumps-like symptoms) has spread, CNN reports. The outbreak on the ship began at the end of last year, and 25 people have been diagnosed with the illness. All 703 people aboard have received booster vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet told CNN.

Though the Fifth Fleet says none of the cases have been life-threatening, this unusual situation has likely brought new meaning to the the phrase "cabin fever" for the military personnel confined to the ship.