Utah Wilderness News, February 10, 2012

LTEs from Moab praise the Interior Department’s Master Leasing Plans

“As both an owner of a tourism-oriented business and as the mother of a young son, I was happy to read that the Department of Interior will be more closely scrutinizing specific areas in Grand and San Juan Counties before leasing them for oil, gas, and potash development.”  Read more: Moab Times-Independent – Leasing reform…

“Kudos to the Bureau of Land Management for its decision to think first and drill later as it prepares its master leasing plan for the Moab area. I know this is not a popular decision amongst some in our state who claim that temporarily deferring the ability to drill on particular parcels is a form of economic suicide.”  Read more: Moab Times-Independent – Look before you lease…

Remember the tale of Chicken Little?

“To hear Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah’s congressional delegation tell it, times have never been harder for energy companies operating on public lands in Utah. Hardly a day seems to go by without Sen. Orrin Hatch complaining that the Bureau of Land Management isn’t selling oil and gas leases fast enough, or Herbert imagining that the federal government is standing in the way of a robust energy sector. In other words, the sky is falling.

Don’t believe it. The reality is that energy development in Utah is brisk.

The facts speak for themselves. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, at the end of 2011 the state of Utah had a record high number of 10,300 producing oil and gas wells, the majority of which are found on public lands. What’s more, the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining reports that the number of drill permit approvals in 2010 and 2011 were two of the highest years for such approvals over the past 25 years. In 2011, about half of those permit approvals were on public lands.”  Op-Ed – The Salt Lake Tribune

Obama has done mostly the right thing on oil shale

“The BLM’s plan favors continued research and development of oil-shale technology, but no commercial leasing of 461,965 acres — 252,181 acres in Utah, 174,476 in Wyoming and 35,308 in Colorado. In addition, nearly 100,000 acres would be made available in eastern Utah for development of tar sands. It’s a far smarter policy than Bush’s. But Republicans are furious. Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert is fuming, the American Petroleum Institute is whining, and the entire Utah Congressional delegation wants the BLM decision scrapped.”  Read more – Daily Kos