Press Release Aug 11, 2020

Administration pulls plans to allow oil and gas drilling near Arches and Canyonlands

After months of pressure, agency defers plan to lease more than 80,000 acres of land to oil and gas corporations

Salt Lake City, UT – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today deferred a proposed oil and gas drilling plan that would have handed over more than 80,000 acres of public land around Canyonlands and Arches national parks for oil and gas drilling.

After months of pressure from park advocates, tribal communities, outdoors enthusiasts as well as local outcry from the governments and residents of nearby Moab and Grand County, the plan – which would have leased public land within half a mile of Canyonlands national park – was finally deferred by the agency.

Statement by Erika Pollard, Associate Southwest Director:

“This enormous oil and gas drilling plan was a mistake from the very beginning and we’re relieved it has finally been deferred. To open up such enormous swathes of land on the doorstep of some of the country’s most spectacular national parks was irresponsible, and to do so during a pandemic in which tribal communities could not be properly consulted about the plans for their sacred land would have been anti-democratic and disrespectful.

"This decision is a huge victory for the many park advocates, tribal communities, outdoors enthusiasts, and local governments and residents who spoke out against these dangerous plans and have now successfully protected some of Utah’s wildest public lands.

"This victory will ensure, for now, the spectacular views at Arches and Canyonlands remain unspoiled by industrialization, while protecting the parks from air pollution caused by oil and gas drilling, and preserving the visibility of their famous dark night skies. Plus ensuring the carbon emissions stay in the ground will benefit all national parks that rely upon a healthy climate to thrive.”

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About The 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 nearly 1.4 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.