Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama Administration canceling 77 drilling leases near Utah parks

Hot off the wire.....

A Bush administration decision that sparked hot controversy in Utah has been turned topsy-turvy by the Obama Administration.

New Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this afternoon canceled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah. In a news release, he said oil and gas supplies need to be developed responsibly to help reduce dependence on foreign oil, but it must be done in a thoughtful, balanced way that protects signature landscapes and cultural resources.

The 77 parcels, which are the subject of a temporary restraining order, were part of a Dec. 19, 2008 lease sale offering 130 parcels in three areas in northeastern Utah. The parcels total about 130,225 acres and are in the vicinity of two national parks and Dinosaur National Monument.

Salazar said, "We will take a fresh look at these 77 parcels and at the adequacy of the environmental review and analysis that led to their being offered for oil and gas development. I am also concerned that there was inadequate consultation with other agencies, including the National Park Service."

Environmental groups and actor Robert Redford have been fighting the lease auction that was announced on Election Day. They believe some of the land in question is too close to national parks and monuments.

Robert Redford talking about this back in December, 2008


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