Eagle Canyon
Eagle Canyon in the San Rafael Swell. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

As reported this week in the Salt Lake Tribune (8/20/13), The Bureau of Land Management’s November oil and gas lease sale is slated to include scenic, wilderness-quality lands in Utah’s San Rafael Swell, including Eagle Canyon and Lost Spring Wash.

“We’re disappointed to see BLM offering so many parcels that conflict with wilderness-caliber landscapes,” says SUWA Legal Director Steve Bloch. “Places Utahns think about when they think of the Swell are absolutely on the chopping block.”

If you’d like to express your concerns to the BLM, please direct your comments to blm_ut_so_public_room@blm.gov.  Below are some general talking points to consider but feel free to mention specific places you’re concerned about.

  • Right now there are more than 3 million acres of BLM lands in Utah already under lease but not being developed by industry.  There is absolutely no compelling need to lease public lands in the San Rafael Swell for oil and gas development.
  • The BLM itself acknowledges that many of these lands in the San Rafael Swell are wilderness-caliber but is relying on Bush-era planning decisions to go ahead with this sale.  Those plans wrongly prioritized energy development and ORV use above all other uses of the public lands.  The agency should use its discretion not to offer these leases.