A coalition of conservation groups has just filed a formal protest opposing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision to auction off 100,000 acres of public lands for oil and gas leasing and development. Leases will be auctioned for wild and remote public lands in Utah, including White River, the greater Desolation Canyon region, Labyrinth Canyon, and the benches east of Canyonlands N.P.
The coalition includes Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), The Wilderness Society (TWS), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Grand Canyon Trust (GCT), and the Sierra Club. Together they represent over a million Americans who support conservation efforts.
Some of the land includes protected areas that the National Park Service asked BLM to omit from the sale. Kind of makes you wonder what’s most important to us – oil, or wild and scenic places? I’ve been through Labyrinth Canyon, and it’s such an amazing place that I shudder to think what it would look like after being opened up to development.
December 12th has been set by the BLM as its timeline for announcing what other parcels it intends to defer from leasing at the December 19th sale. This may or may not be the agency’s final decision on the lease sale protests.
In addition to the land lease auction, the BLM has issued six controversial management plans for public lands across eastern and southern Utah, opening up large portions of red rock country to oil and gas drilling and off-road vehicles. The coalition also intends to legally challenge these management plans.
- Take a look at these amazing photos of the lands affected by the December lease sale: Public Lands Lease Sale
- View: collection of maps of the area at Flickr.
- Read: Protests submitted in response to the BLM’s December 2008 Lease Sale
- Read: Resource management plans determining the fate of 11 million acres of Public Land in Utah: Moab, Price, Vernal, Kanab, Richfield, Monticello
Image: Stevendamron at Flickr under Creative Commons License
it’s horrible that they’d simply sell such beautiful land to those who would trample and destroy it. i’m glad these groups exist to stand up to insanity like this
I DO NOT GET IT. HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING, WHO IS IN CHARGE AND HOW CAN THIS BE STOPPED? I JUST HEARD ABOUT THIS ON MSNBC, ROBERT REDFORD INTERVIEW, I LOOKED IT UP AND FOUND OUT IT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE IN NEVADA, LEASED FOR $1.50 TO $2.00/ACRE FOR O&G EXPLORATION. STOP THE INSANITY.
We can fight against these oil leases but I would also like to ad the question, “What if we lose?”
Who will oversee the oil exploration?
If it’s going to happen, who will make sure these areas will survive to be as pristine as possible?
Great article!! Thanks man.
Oil and gas exploration are a necessary evil, good to relieve the ‘balance of trade’ economic problem, and good to buy the “American people” time to develop Solar Electric Power, the only ‘renewable’ or as I prefer to say”PERPETUAL POWER” It is unfortunate that the English language, structured as it is, has lead to misunderstandings and misconceptions . . . the use of the word renewable is a case in point! PERPETUAL, as in the Holy Grail of physics, like perpetual motion, is already a reality in the world of energy! If you build a Solar Electric Power Plant in the American deserts, save for the cost of maintenance, it will produce power for ever! Yes, Yankee Doodle! Free! Power! Forever! Just like the wind keeps blowing and Waves keep forming we already have PERPETUAL POWER! The oil companies don’t want you to realize this: meanwhile, Spain and Portugal have developed it! Some very soon to be rich investors are building Solar PERPETUAL POWER PLANTS in the deserts of the U.S.A.! America is Radiant Resources Rich! the three R’s of recovery from the debauchery of the oil barons are: Radiant Resources Rich! Destroying natures glory with C02 from fossil fuels is foolhardy for a country as Radiant Resource Rich as the U.S.A. In our automobiles, we have been “sold a bill of goods”, cars manufactured and designed by boards of directors who also sit on the boards of the petroleum giants and are backed by OPEC money! No goddamn wonder they are not economical, why should these guys shoot themselves in the foot? Why should they unenslave us from what is a good thing for their stock portfolios? Billions of dollars have been spent in advertising, addicting and conditioning American behaviors! even at the expense of the natural richness of the very soil and fauna around us! We need to change this! Last Call America, Last Call!