The Bureau of Land Management has expanded its oil and gas lease program in eastern Utah to include tens of thousands of acres on or near the boundaries of three national parks, according to revised maps published this week.
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. (NY Times 11/7/2008)
The Parks Service were not given the customary one to three months notice to review and comment on the leases.
The net effect according to the Times is that if any of the leases are delivered before Inauguration day it will be difficult for the new administration to reverse the leases.
Before the new lands could be opened to leasing, the land management bureau had to revise its resource management plans designating which areas are appropriate for mining, drilling and motorized recreation and which should remain free of such activity. (NY Times)
Activists said the sale would threaten Utah’s wild lands and spoil the view from some of the state’s spectacular national parks with drilling rigs. (NY Times Dec. 20)
To Paraphrase Mr. Spock "Does the good of the many outweigh the good of the few?"