Oil and Gas

Thanks to your support, we weathered eight years of relentless pressure by the Bush administration to bring industry’s ‘drill here, drill now” mantra to Utah’s magnificent redrock wilderness.  We pushed back against repeated attempts to sell new oil and gas leases and drill new wells in wilderness-quality lands across the state, winning several notable legal victories that slowed and ultimately derailed Secretary Norton’s best laid plans.

Now, the Obama administration—coupled with an international economic slowdown—has brought sanity back to public lands management.  As Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently stated in response to attacks from the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States (IPAMS) and others: “Trade groups need to understand that they do not own the nation’s public lands. Taxpayers do.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

As Secretary Salazar has also noted, this is not a question of whether there should be any leasing and development on public lands.  There may be places where such activity—if in compliance with federal, state and local laws intended to protect public health and the environment—may be appropriate (in fact, most of the lands currently under lease have not yet been developed).  The destruction of Utah’s redrock wilderness for its trivial amounts of oil and gas—predicted at best to be less than 4 weeks of natural gas and 1 week of oil—does not fit this definition and must be rejected.  These lands must instead be protected for current and future generations.

Whether and to what extent Secretary Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey share these beliefs remains to be seen.  While an early decision to withdraw BLM offers to lease 77 parcels in wilderness and other sensitive lands raised our hopes, subsequent actions have tempered our optimism. 


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Help Protect Desolation Canyon

BLM's December 2008 Lease Sale

Thumbnail Map of December 2008 Lease Parcel See maps, photos, and other information relating to this widely criticized lease sale impacting national parks and proposed wilderness


Places at Risk from Oil and Gas Development

Upper Desolation Canyon

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Impacts of Oil and Gas Development

Uinta Basin Drill Pads

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