Press Release Sep 11, 2019

Leasing Our Legacy: Lands Near Hovenweep National Monument Sold to Oil and Gas Bidders

In its latest step towards 'energy dominance' at the sacrifice of national parks and other public lands, the Trump Administration advanced more than 30,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Southeast Utah today.

SALT LAKE CITY – In its latest step towards ‘energy dominance’ at the sacrifice of national parks and other public lands, the Bureau of Land Management sold more than 30,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Southeast Utah today.

The lease sale was broadly opposed by tribal, business, conservation and recreation industry leaders. The All Pueblo Council of Governors; San Juan County Commission; the Navajo Utah Commission; the Town of Bluff and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) were among those that sent letters to the BLM and Utah Governor Herbert, asking them to stop the leases near Hovenweep National Monument from advancing.

The area sold for future development is important to Utah’s unique history and rich cultural heritage and is connected to a vast cultural landscape significant to many Native American tribes throughout the region. In many cases, as little as 2% of recently leased land around Hovenweep National Monument has been surveyed for cultural and archaeological sites.

Statement by Erika Pollard, Southwest Associate Director for the National Parks Conservation Association

“The Trump administration took its latest swipe at our public lands and cultural heritage today by selling off more than 30,000 acres near Hovenweep National Monument to oil and gas bidders. The concerns raised by leaders including the All Pueblo Council of Governors, San Juan County Commission, City of Bluff, local businesses, conservation groups and other Utahns were all silenced by the sounds of short-term gains raised through today’s lease sale.

“While we know oil and gas development threatens Hovenweep National Monument and its dark night skies, the unknown impacts are equally disheartening, as only a small fraction of this rich cultural landscape has been studied and inventoried.

“Today’s oil and gas lease sale is the BLM’s latest gamble against Utah’s outdoor tourism industry, our national parks and valuable cultural heritage by forcing an energy dominance agenda that has lost all semblance of balance.”

# # #

About the National Parks Conservation Association:

For 100 years, 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/100.