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KCPW airs debate featuring our Conservation Director Steve Bloch on Secretary Salazar's proposed oil & gas leasing reforms
Ken Salazar’s new guidelines for oil and gas leasing on public lands, an issue
that hits home in
after the secretary controversially pulled dozens of leases from an auction in
late 2008. But energy developers says they’ll lead to unnecessary delays." Listen – KCPW
High Country News columnist commends Nine Mile Canyon deal
"The world's longest outdoor art gallery will finally get
some protection from the gas drilling that threatens it. Eastern Utah's
long, contains hundreds of homesteaders’ cabins, stage stops, cliff dwellings
and granaries, and more than 10,000 Anasazi and Fremont petroglyphs." Read More – HCN
Apparently not everyone appreciates Utah's cultural treasures…
"What's the big deal? I found myself thinking. If any of this
gets lost we can put some third graders to work on nearby unmarked rocks." Read More – Deseret News
Here's what is happening this month with the redrock:
1. BLM oil & gas policy changes stem from SUWA's legal victories.
2. Wild lands in the Zion-Mojave region are still threatened by off-road vehicles.
3. Subscribe to Redrock Headlines!
4. New redrock bill cosponsors include Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
5. Find out if SUWA's slideshow and other redrock presentations are happening at a location near you.
Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary Wilma Lewis and
BLM Director Bob Abbey announced reforms to the agency's oil and gas
program — based in large part on the result of SUWA's advocacy on these
the over-use of statutory “categorical exclusions” that exempted proposed drilling permits from analysis required under the
National Environmental Policy Act. BLM
will now have to ensure that potential impacts to important resources such as
wilderness and cultural sites are fully analyzed before issuing new approvals. This reform stems from a lawsuit SUWA and
others brought against BLM challenging the agency’s use of this short-cut around
the way oil and gas leases are offered.
BLM has pledged to conduct an on-the-ground review of most individual land
parcels being considered for leasing, increase public input in the leasing
process and to offer special consideration to areas with wilderness, cultural,
water and wildlife resources. These
policies stemmed from SUWA’s legal victory in January 2009 that halted the sale of 77
controversial leases offered at Utah BLM’s December 2008 lease sale and brought the Obama administration’s attention to deficiencies in BLM’s leasing
overdue announcement is a good first step to turning around the Bush
administration’s irresponsible rush to lease special places in Utah. We are still waiting to see how these new
policies will be implemented in Utah
to better protect the redrock.
(Photos copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA)
the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2009 protected much of
Utah’s Zion-Mojave wilderness and SUWA supported the bill’s final passage, this
legislation was not perfect. Some
deserving lands were left unprotected, including Dry Creek, Square Top, Butcher
Knife Canyon, and the Beaver Dam Mountains.
our Utah Wilderness Coalition partners and congressional champions, we fought hard
to improve the Washington County bill. Because it was a fight to the end, there was
never any stated agreement between wilderness advocates and the bill’s proponents. As a
result the proposed wilderness lands omitted from the Washington County
legislation remain in Congressman Hinchey’s America’s Red Rock
Wilderness Act (ARRWA). And we need your
help to keep these lands wild.
Bureau of Land Management will soon create an off-road vehicle (ORV) travel
plan for the area. Please urge the St.
George BLM office to protect proposed wilderness areas omitted from the Washington County bill,
such as Dry Creek and the Beaver Dam Mountains. Comments can be
of Land Management — St. George Field Office
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790
Phone (435) 688-3200
Fax (435) 688-3252
Want a quick and easy way to keep up with Utah wilderness in the news? Subscribe to Redrock Headlines!
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Towards the end of 2009, the number of cosponsors of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act continued to grow. Those recently signing onto to the bill are Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). If you live in any of the above districts, please thank your representative!
SUWA's multi-media slideshow presentation, Wild Utah: America's Redrock Wilderness, will be traveling across the country in January and February!
SUWA's Midwest Field Organizer, Clayton Daughenbaugh, will be presenting in Iowa and Illinois in January and Missouri in February. For more information or to schedule a slideshow in the Midwest, email Clayton at email@example.com.
SUWA's National Grassroots Organizer, Jackie Feinberg, will be traveling to Pennsylvania in January and Virginia and Pennsylvania in February. For more information or to schedule a slideshow along the East Coast, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to SUWA's organizers, dedicated Utah wilderness activists will be giving talks about the redrock around the country this year, including Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington this January and February. Please see our slideshow schedule for more details.
Salt Lake Tribune praises oil and gas leasing reform, calls for higher standard of land management
“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has promised to bring a “balanced approach” to permitting more drilling for oil and natural gas in America’s Western states. That will be a welcome change, and not only for people concerned about protecting fragile arid lands, wildlife, water and air quality, but for energy development companies.” Read More – Salt Lake Tribune
New York Times coverage of Salazar’s proposed reforms
“The interior secretary, Ken Salazar, said Wednesday that his department would conduct more rigorous reviews of oil and gas
leasing on public lands, declaring that the agency would no longer be a “candy store” for the petroleum industry, as he said it had been during the Bush administration.” Read More – New York Times
Salt Lake Tribune lauds agreement to protect Nine Mile Canyon
“It is our responsibility to protect the delicate and beautiful things of the Earth, including, along with nature’s wonders, the treasures we’ve inherited from the people who lived thousands of years ago in the land we now call Utah. We would be cheating our children and grandchildren if we were to allow those things to be ruined in our rush to take fossil fuels from the ground.” (Jan 5 Editorial, Salt Lake Tribune)
Federal agencies may have to consider climate before they act
“The Obama administration may issue an order that would expand the National Environmental Policy Act’s scope to prevent global warming. The move could open up new avenues to challenge projects.” (Jan 1, Los Angeles Times)