Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BLM Pulls Plug On Energy Development Near Utah National Parks

The federal Bureau of Land Management caused a big stir a few weeks ago when it scheduled lease auctions for potential oil and gas wells near Arches and other Utah parks and sensitive areas.

Yesterday the agency removed some 34 parcels from a lease auction set for Dec 19.

Many news groups have articles about the potential sale, and now BLM's concessions. Below are excerpts from this LA Times article.

The Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday backed off from plans to auction more than a dozen leases to explore for oil and gas on the doorstep of several national parks, deflecting accusations by environmental groups that it was handing a "parting gift" to the energy industry before the Obama administration takes over.

The agency still will proceed with more than 100 lease sales at a Dec. 19 auction. BLM officials did not return calls for comment Tuesday night, but they released a statement with the National Park Service after a Monday meeting, saying the two agencies had come to an agreement on protecting the environment.

"Putting oil and gas exploration and industrial zones in the Southwest causes irreparable damage," said David Nimkin of the National Park Conservation Assn. "It's like burning Rembrandts to heat the castle. I'm not sure we're that desperate."

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