Thursday, November 20, 2008

BLM to Sell Off 50,000 Acres of Public Land in Utah for Private Oil & Gas Development

BLM to Sell 50,000 acres of public land in Utah for Private Oil &Gas Production

Looks like George W. Bush has tried to pull another fast one. Late in the day on November 4, when we were all busy figuring out who'd take Bushie's spot in the White House, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) quietly announced that it would auction off more than 50,000 acres of Utah land to the oil and gas industry. The catch? Several of these parcels are right on the borders of the Arches, Dinosaur, and Canyonlands National Parks. If the sales go through, future visitors to Arches will look through famous Delicate Arch and see a drilling platform in the near distance, just over a mile away.

The chief park service administrator in Utah calls the plan "shocking and disturbing," according to MSNBC. Nevertheless, the sale seems to be going through, with a land auction scheduled for December 19. You can voice your disapproval via the BLM's Web site. I know I will: I spent a day in Arches this past spring while on assignment for Condé Nast Traveler (writing the Iconic Itinerary to the American Southwest), and found it one of the most breathtaking examples of our country's natural wonders.

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