Posts Tagged Arches

Bush’s parting gifts to the oil and gas industry

And here is Utah’s reward for being the reddest state, the most supportive of the Bush administration. As one of his last acts, he opens up new land to oil and gas exploration on the borders of Arches and Canyonlands Parks.

Late on Election Day, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a Dec. 19 auction of more than 50,000 acres of oil and gas parcels alongside or within view of Arches National Park and two other redrock national parks in Utah: Dinosaur and Canyonlands.

The National Park Service’s top official in the state calls it “shocking and disturbing” and says his agency wasn’t properly notified. Environmentalists call it a “fire sale” for the oil and gas industry by a departing administration. (snip)

A compromise ordered by the Interior Department requires the BLM to “take quite seriously” the Park Service’s objections, said Wolfe.

However, the BLM didn’t promise to pull any parcels from the sale, and in an interview after the supposed truce, BLM state director Selma Sierra was defiant, saying she saw nothing wrong with drilling near national parks.

“I’m puzzled the Park Service has been as upset as they are,” said Sierra.

“There are already many parcels leased around the parks. It’s not like they’ve never been leased,” she said. “I don’t see it as something we are doing to undermine the Park Service.”

Roy and conservation groups dispute that, saying never before has the bureau bunched drilling parcels on the fence lines of national parks.

That’s 50 thousand acres, folks, to be auctioned on December 19, one month before Obama takes office. I realize that the same people who supported Bush will undoubtedly think this is a great thing for the state. I wonder, is this one of those things that can be undone by congress or by executive order?

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