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Oil and Gas Companies Target Utah’s Red Rock Country

Oil and Gas Companies Target Utah’s Red Rock Country

As one of the most breathtaking areas of the entire United States, the red rock country of Utah is revered for its beauty, solitude, and the existence of unique cultural artifacts like ancient cave dwellings and rock art.

But now, thanks to the “drill first, ask questions later” policy that was so popular under the previous administration, big oil and gas companies are forcing their presence in this pristine wilderness, and threatening to destroy these wild lands with uncontrolled drilling unless new policies are put in place to permanently protect it.

SaveBioGems.org reports that “for eight years, the Bush administration  maneuvered to turn redrock country- a safe haven for antelope, bighorn sheep and other wildlife- into a maze of drill rigs, pipelines, roads and waste pits. The rapid growth of unrestricted off-road vehicle use is also a gathering threat to the spectacular landscapes of this region.”

While Bush was in office, oil and gas companies were allowed unprecedented access to public lands that should have been strictly protected, all while collecting $72 billion in taxpayer subsidies to carry out their search for fossil fuels.

Back in 2008, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and the Wilderness Society joined forces to bring a significant lawsuit to the attention of the federal government. After an appeals court victory that will protect thousands of acres of stunning redrock country from oil and gas drilling, the Interior Department is finally working on new policies for oil and gas leasing on federal lands that are expected within the next few weeks.

Due to the likelihood that these new policies might be viewed as very restrictive by the oil and gas companies, it’s not surprising that they have mounted an extensive campaign to derail the new guidelines.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that Americans join together to voice their opinion on this potential use of public wilderness lands. Keep in mind that it’s not only Utah that could stand to suffer the consequences of excessive development in these areas.

In addition to eleven million acres of Utah’s Red Rock canyon country, Colorado’s Vermillion Basin, New Mexico’s Otero Mesa, and Wyoming’s Red Desert are also being eyeballed by these fuel industries.

Those that oppose this development are encouraged to contact Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and urge him to move forward with new guidelines that will protect these wild lands from unnecessary oil and gas drilling.

It took millions of of years for swirling wind and sand to carve the delicate sandstone arches that conservation giants like Edward Abbey fought for so stoically, and wrote about so eloqently. Let’s not allow the oil and gas industry to detroy in a matter of days.

Click HERE to sign the Wilderness Society’s petition and send a personal message to Secretary Salazar.

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Image Credit: sierraclub.typepad.com

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60 comments

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11:05AM PST on Jan 15, 2010

This is greed in action.. men become blinded by it and although it is such a common thing in our culture to be greedy there are those who oppose it everyday... keep fighting it and maybe before all our natural resources run out there may be some positive change... either way lesson will be learned!

9:30PM PST on Jan 6, 2010

* Vaiva G. says
* Dec 24, 2009 12:28 PM

I think we all understand the importance of lower prices and all that...but how many people are really willing to support this senseless destruction for mere oil that is going to run out anyways? too many apparently, seems like that should change quickly.

They will if they think that they may have to walk somewhere, do not forget that the car is the new God to a lot of people!

12:35AM PST on Dec 30, 2009

thanks for the post

10:26AM PST on Dec 27, 2009

good to know

9:28AM PST on Dec 27, 2009

it really is one of the most breathtaking sites in the usa. leave it alone,money isn`t everything.

10:00AM PST on Dec 26, 2009

We are going to have no safe natural beauty anymore-what are we doing to our world?!

4:09AM PST on Dec 26, 2009

What people will do money....sad....

8:31AM PST on Dec 25, 2009

Davie Parker,
I agree that we are really spoiled here in America and recycling is a must. I live in an area where oil and gas were plentiful back in the late 1800's and I still have tap water that has a small amount of natural gas in it. I've had it tested by 2 different sources and it is supposedly safe to drink, but I buy bottled or filtered water from the store anyway. The natural gas in the water is not from oil or gas drilling, but is in the water naturally.
Some heavy construction equipment can use biodiesel but the antigel additives needed to use it during cold weather are more hazardous than low sulphur diesel to the environment.
We need to address some of the problems not yet addressed to be finally free of fossil fuels. The sooner, the better.

5:56AM PST on Dec 25, 2009

I was a child in Colorado in the 1960s and had first hand experience just how badly mineral and oil extraction damages the environment. With both the total contempt the extraction corporations have displayed for our shared environment, and their determination to break every rule they can, makes the idea of trusting them with such a beautiful location a non starter. Add to this the fact we can not drill our way out of our energy over consumption makes NO the only rational answer to this proposed idea.

3:59PM PST on Dec 24, 2009

The oil and gas companies have permits to drill in about 90% of the USA but they are targeting public lands right now because they think that the people are willing to give up everything for their product. We have to stand strong against these companies. They are just greedy. They aren't doing anything for the people. My uncle used to work at a refinery in California and said that all the oil that comes out of Alaska is shipped to Japan because the gas and oil companies don't want to spend money on the machinery to clean it up for our use. These companies are chasing the American dollar at the expense of the American people. They are fighting to drill at the Grand Canyon for Uranium when there isn't any proof that there is any there.

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