Utah Wilderness News, April 4, 2011

Agreement reached on Uintah County drilling project

“Steve Bloch, the energy program director and attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said the agreement achieves mutual goals for both the company and those who want to protect the land. ‘The White River proposed wilderness area is an island of spectacular public lands and river in the midst of significant natural gas development in eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin,’ Bloch said. ‘This agreement provides certainty to river runners and families visiting the White River that core aspects of the wilderness proposal will remain undeveloped, while the company enjoys certainty about its drilling program.’”  Read more – Deseret News

Rep. Bishop’s critique of current oil production is erroneous, again

Stephen Bloch, energy program director and attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, says Bishop is off target, given that 975 wells were started in Utah last year, a higher rate than any year between 1985 and 2005. Bloch also said 29 rigs are operating in the state now, more than double the number two years ago. ‘Rather than closing the door to energy development in Utah,’ Bloch said, ‘[Interior] has worked to bring balance to public land management.’”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune

An unnecessary new energy office for Utah

“According to Steve Block of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the creation of the Office of Energy Development isn’t of keen importance to much at all. The notion that the Obama administration is trying to kill oil and gas development is false, he said. Despite the industry’s concerns about certainty on public lands, oil and gas development has been booming in Utah over the past year. With 30 active drilling rigs in Utah today, there are now more than twice the number of rigs in the state than when Utah hit its two-year low in drilling activity with 14 rigs in May 2009, according to industry rig count data compiled by Houston-based Baker Hughes.”  Read more – Deseret News

Interior Department report: More than half of oil and gas leases are idle

“’The simple truth is approval rates for drilling permits are up, and industry lays idle hands on over 21 million acres of public lands,’ Garrington said. ‘We should put an end to Big Oil’s speculation on our public lands and continue to move forward with responsible energy development.’”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune

Off-roader convicted (again) of riding in wilderness study area

“U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen said her office is pleased with Braithwaite’s decision.

‘In this case, Mr. Jessop had an easy choice to make,’ said Christensen. ‘He could respect the signs marking the road as closed or disobey the law. Mr. Jessop chose to disobey the law because he did not agree with it. Disagreement with the law is not a defense to criminal conduct.’”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune