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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

Bureau of Land Management Cancels Oil and Gas Leases in Utah

November 18, 2013
Press Release
WASHINGTON– Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee, and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) today responded to the Bureau of Land Management's announcement that it will defer an additional 99,960 acres of land in Southern Utah from its quarterly oil and gas lease sale. This latest deferment brings the total number of acres withdrawn from the lease sale to over 800,000. The BLM's Price and Vernal Field Offices will instead offer a mere 44,021 acres for oil and gas leases, a mere 5% of what could have been offered.

"It's silly of the BLM to think that it can pass this arbitrary decision off as anything other than what it really is, which is an appeasement of special interest groups that are opposed to all resource development in this area. Their motives are thinly veiled. It is no coincidence that the areas withdrawn from the lease sale are located within the boundaries of a proposal introduced by New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12) that seeks to lock up more than nine million acres as new wilderness.  The irony of the situation is that the deferred lease areas are within, or adjacent to, existing federal and state oil and gas leases, which currently coexist in harmony with outdoor recreation.  By succumbing to fear mongering from special interest groups, the BLM is further demonstrating the need for locally-driven solutions that support balanced use of the public lands.  Revenue from recreation is important to the state of Utah and helps support some communities, but it alone won't pay the bills. We absolutely must have a balanced land-use portfolio that includes resource development and conservation for recreation.  I remain committed to working with all interested parties to build consensus over land-use policies, thereby giving communities and land users the certainty they need and deserve," said Congressman Bishop.   

"Too often, opponents of high-paying energy jobs argue that we can't have both energy development and recreation. This is a false choice. We can have both, and rural Utah desperately needs more high-paying jobs that the energy industry provides. Nearly three times as much land in Emery County is protected from development for every acre that is leased for oil and gas. We need to strike a better balance," said Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

Click here to view map of previous and current lease offerings. Purple areas indicate parcels that the BLM will offer on November 19th. Areas in blue indicate the parcels withdrawn from lease sale.