Press Release Oct 26, 2018

BLM Hits Pause on Leasing Nearly 1 Million Acres for Oil and Gas Development

Responding to court orders, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hit the pause button on lease sales for nearly one million acres of public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

SALT LAKE CITY – Responding to court orders, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deferred oil and gas lease sales on nearly one million acres of public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

On Thursday, the Utah BLM pushed the sale of 116 parcels of public lands back until 2019. On Wednesday, the BLM in Wyoming deferred sale of more than 750,000 acres. And the Colorado BLM announced the delayed lease sale last Friday of nearly 150,000 acres. The majority of lands were deferred from sale over the lack of adequate public comment, among other concerns.

Echoing concerns for the administration’s rush to open up public lands to oil and gas leasing, more than 40 members of Congress sent a letter this week to the BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs Brian Steed, urging the agency to involve the public in public lands decisions, and delay the December lease sale.

Statement by David Nimkin, Senior Southwest Director for National Parks Conservation Association

“The BLM’s decisions this week to allow for further public consideration on nearly one million acres of public lands in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah is a welcome step, but ultimately only kicks the decision down the road.

“While we commend the BLM, along with elected officials, community leaders and national park supporters who called for protecting these treasured public lands, we must do better for the future of our public lands. We must not allow the BLM to blindly open our public lands to oil and gas development, putting our national parks, wildlife migration corridors, communities, clean air and water at risk.

“Diminished public comment periods have forced taxpayers to use the courts to fight for a seat at the public lands management table that is rightfully theirs.

“This holds true in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and throughout the west, which this administration has targeted with rapidly spreading energy plans that have largely sidestepped public engagement. In many states, taxpayers are further discouraged from having their voices heard by being forced to mail or fax in protests versus using efficient and 21st century technology like email.

“National Parks Conservation Association is among those calling for our voices to be heard, as this administration prioritizes industry over diverse far-reaching community and conservation concerns.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.