Tell the BLM Not to Lease for Oil and Gas at the Doorstep of Zion National Park

Feb 22nd, 2017 Written by suwa

The Bureau of Land Management’s Saint George field office is preparing to lease for oil and gas development approximately 4,730 acres of federal public land at its upcoming lease sale. Two of the parcels are located less than two miles from Zion National Park along the Kolob Terrace Road, a popular tourist route. Oil and gas development in this area will be visible from the gateway community of Virgin as well as from inside the park, threatening pristine night skies, air quality, and tourism.

Looking east-southeast across lease parcels 42 and 43 at the outskirts of Zion National Park. Copyright Luke Henry/SUWA

The BLM’s proposal to lease for oil and gas development on the doorstep of Utah’s most popular national park has been met, unsurprisingly, by strong opposition. Local residents packed the Virgin Community Center to express their concerns during a public meeting with BLM officials, and the Washington County Commission passed a resolution in opposition to the lease sale, noting that Zion National Park is “an internationally recognized showpiece” and “the scenic nature of the area surrounding [the park] contributes to the beauty, economy, and recreational values in Washington County.”

The BLM is accepting public comments through March 9, 2017. Click here to submit comments now.