Utah Energy Exploration Lease Sale Deal Reached Date: 22-Dec-08
Author: Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON - The Interior Department has reached an agreement with environmental groups over the controversial sale of energy exploration leases for 100,000 acres of land in Utah scheduled for Friday.
The lease sale will proceed as planned, but the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management will not finalize any sales of leases on 80 parcels of environmentally sensitive land for 30 days, giving a judge time to issue a ruling on the lease sales. The 80 parcels of land include areas adjacent to national parks.
Environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit to block the Utah lease sale earlier this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In their complaint, the groups charged that opening the proposed areas to oil and gas development would lower air quality at several Utah national parks and that the Bureau of Land Management did not thoroughly complete federally mandated analysis of environmental impacts of the leases.
Bush still has time to do a lot of damage...