BLM begins protest periods for two sets of proposed leases in Utah

The US Bureau of Land Management’s Utah state office said on Sept. 1 that it will accept protests through Oct. 2 of two sets of oil and gas leases it plans to offer as part of its quarterly online lease sale on Dec. 12. The proposed tracts were prepared by its Vernal and Price field offices.

The US Bureau of Land Management’s Utah state office said on Sept. 1 that it will accept protests through Oct. 2 of two sets of oil and gas leases it plans to offer as part of its quarterly online lease sale on Dec. 12. The proposed tracts were prepared by its Vernal and Price field offices.

Officials from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in Salt Lake City and two national environmental organizations in Washington immediately denounced plans to offer the acreage. They said one set of tracts was too close to Dinosaur National Monument east of Vernal and the other would damage the San Rafael Swell southeast of Price.

BLM’s Vernal field office said it was planning to offer 75 parcels totaling 94,000 acres in Duchesne, Uintah, and Emery Counties. Documents that are available online include a final environmental assessment and an unsigned finding of no significant impacts (FONSI).

SUWA noted Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) said in a July 25 letter that while the state government supports offering most of the proposed leases in Duchesne and Uintah counties, it would like BLM to reevaluate Parcels 069, 070, and 0271 “to ensure that leasing of these parcels does not [affect] visual resources or cause light or sound disturbances within Dinosaur National Monument.”

The Price field office said it was considering offering 15 parcels comprised of 32,013 acres in Emery County about 7 miles southeast of the town of Ferron. Online documents include a final EA and FONSI.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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