Saturday, November 8, 2008

BLM Expands Drilling Leases Near UT National Parks

NYT:

National Park Service officials say that the decision to open lands close to Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument and within eyeshot of Canyonlands National Park was made without the kind of consultation that had previously been routine.

The inclusion of the new lease tracts angered environmental groups, which were already critical of the bureau’s original lease proposal, made public this fall, because they said it could lead to industrial activity in empty areas of the state, some prized for their sweeping vistas, like Desolation Canyon, and others for their ancient petroglyphs, like Nine Mile Canyon.

The bureau’s new maps, made public on Election Day, show not just those empty areas but 40 to 45 new areas where leasing will also be allowed.
Many land managers were surprised by the announcement, as they are usually given up to 3 months to comment on proposed leases before they are auctioned. They see this as a last ditch land grab by the Bush administration before leaving office.

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