Sierra Club

Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

February 4, 2009

Contact: Kristina Johnson
(415) 977-5619

Interior Department Halts Oil and Gas Leases Near Utah National Parks

Washington, D.C. The Interior Department today announced that it would cancel leases issued under the Bush administration that would have allowed oil and gas drilling on more than 100,000 acres of Utah wild lands, much of it surrounding iconic treasures like Arches National Park.

Since December, the Sierra Club and a coalition of environmental groups have been working to protect areas near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, and rock art-rich Nine Mile Canyon from oil and gas drilling. In December, the coalition filed suit to stop the leasing, and, in January, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court granted a temporary restraining order preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from moving forward with these leases.

Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the agency would cancel the leases.

Statement of Sierra Club Deputy Director Bruce Hamilton

"Today's announcement by Secretary Salazar signals a new era in the way our natural resources are managed. The Obama administration clearly understands that instead of allowing the oil industry to destroy places like Arches National Park, we should be investing in the kind of clean energy solutions that curb global warming and leave our natural treasures intact." 

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