By the Numbers

1%

Percentage of acreage deferred from 2018 lease sales near Dinosaur National Monument in 2018

26%

Percentage of Utah’s section of Dinosaur National Monument unprotected from oil and gas development, despite the same federal land manager implementing a Master Leasing Plan for Colorado’s section of Dinosaur National Monument

11

Air violation days in 2018 according to the American Lung Association for Uintah County, the Utah home of Dinosaur National Monument, more days than the rest of Utah combined

Time and again, leases near Dinosaur National Monument are offered, deferred and offered again, a product of BLM’s aggressive approach to oil and gas development, even in the face of serious concerns about damage to this park.

Background

Dinosaur National Monument straddles Colorado and Utah and is renowned for the fossils of dinosaurs that remain embedded in the rocks and canyon walls. The park contains over 800 paleontological sites in total. The park is also home to petroglyphs and pictographs left behind by the Fremont people from over 1,000 years ago.

The park provides a glimpse into geologic history, created by the erosion from the Green and Yampa rivers. These rivers have exposed 23 rock layers that tell the story of the landscape’s evolution from an ancient sea to grassy plains to arid deserts.

Spoiling Park Resources

The monument is embedded in a dynamic rural landscape where oil and gas has long been present. Year after year, the Uinta Basin reports serious air quality issues. In 2019, Uintah County, Utah, received a failing grade from the American Lung Association’s report card measuring the state of the air. Oil and gas operations are the largest source of air and climate pollution in the Uinta Basin, plaguing this once-pristine region with significant air pollution comparable with densely populated cities like Los Angeles and Denver. Elevated levels of ozone pollution endanger public health, causing asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease and premature death. It’s particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations, including children, seniors and people with respiratory conditions.

Despite the well-documented problems with air quality, the administration has accelerated leasing in the Uinta Basin. While a few lease sales close to the park have been temporarily withheld, the BLM has continued to take an aggressive approach of rapidly leasing numerous acres throughout the region to oil and gas companies.

The BLM has a legal duty to analyze and address potential harms to human health and landscapes before leasing. The agency routinely skips this analysis, instead prioritizing the interests of oil and gas companies over public health and environmental protection.

These lease sales, offered by the BLM, violate federal environmental laws and will worsen air quality in a region already laden with harmful levels of ozone pollution.

Resources Threatened

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    Public health
  • 0f1ba227 f13f 4fc0 997e 649a70090e23 original
    Air quality
  • 132616f6 2ae7 4276 8074 3e1c128d64d5 original
    Night skies
  • 9ae2c28f bea6 4155 b4b0 8b486447e4c5 original
    Visitor experience
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