Past UpdatesNine Mile Canyon,
Obama Administration Scraps Controversial Utah Lease Sales
In what will likely be the first of many high-profile reversals of the Bush administration's approach to energy exploration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on February 5, 2009, that the government is scrapping the issuance of 77 lease parcels on federal land for oil and gas drilling in Utah's red rock country. In his statement to the media, Secretary Salazar said, "In the last weeks in office, the Bush administration rushed ahead to sell oil and gas leases near some of our nation's most precious landscapes in Utah. We will take time and a fresh look at these 77 parcels to see if they are appropriate for oil and gas development."
“Secretary Salazar’s decision sends a strong message about the Obama administration’s approach to preserving America’s public lands,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a press release put out by the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Today’s action ensures that the damage being inflicted on cultural resources near Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon - often called the ‘world’s longest art gallery’ because of the density of ancient rock art panels there - will not be exacerbated by additional oil and gas leases. This is a great decision, and indicates that Secretary Salazar and President Obama take very seriously their responsibility as stewards of our public lands.”