Utah oil and gas lease sale riles Park Service

BLM dropped routine consultation to rush sales-

Bureau of Land Management didn’t alert agency to drilling bids near national park. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

U.S. to Open Public Land Near Parks for Drilling. By Felicity Barranger. New York Times.

The sales are set for Dec. 19. The BLM refuses to move the date back (of course, because Bush would not be in  office). If you have ever been to Arches National Park, or Canyonlands National Park or any of the backcountry adjacent to Moab, Utah, you’ll know how awful this would be.

– – – –

Added later. It gets worse. Bush officials plan to dial back environmental protections. By Renee Schoof. McClatchy Newspapers.



  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    vickf wrote in another thread that Obama’s folks are already looking into this.

    If so, great! It’s also a good signal that maybe a Bush scorched Earth policy, as they retreat to their holes in the ground, won’t be allowed.

  2. IzabelaM Avatar

    I live in Utah, and I hope the common sense will prevail.
    I dont’ trust Bubba.
    And unfortunatley our gov is not so strong to say to special interest (oil and gas exploration).
    Heck..he almost allowed the nuclear waste from Italy to be dumped in Utah.
    I love the wild, emptlys paces we have in Utah…I want to preserve them for other generations..
    good thing gas in 2.09 in SLC…

  3. IzabelaM Avatar

    grrrrrrrr typos…I am sorry…
    not so strong to say NO
    love the wild, empty spaces we have

  4. Buffaloed Avatar

    It’s funny that so many of the people in the MSM talk about the reason that gas prices have fallen because of the failing economy. I’ve heard another totally different argument about this. Randi Rhodes, who has a radio talk show, posits this argument. The reason the gas prices are down is not for lack of demand but rather the lack of the speculators to borrow money to speculate. It appears that much of the price was artificially high because of speculation rather than the supply and demand argument that so many “free-market” people claim. I tend to agree with Randi on this.

  5. Rusty Avatar

    Here is the link regarding the opinion of Obama’s team regarding this executive order. http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/09/obamas-transition-chief-bushs-executive-orders-review/

  6. vickif Avatar

    Well, Buffaloed, you would be correct.
    According to what I have read, the price of gas has more to do with American banks. They know there is demand, so they can capitalize on interest and finance fees. They are the true leaders of price ceilings, or lack of, when it comes to oil.
    Now having lost major dollars due to the middle class spending less to drive, and continued loss in the housing markets, the banks are going back to quantity vs. quality. It is now becoming necessary for them to lend at lower rates (feds lowering rates may help…not sure).
    Make no mistake though, oil companies are capitalizing right now. They will take advantage of open drilling ranges. We also don’t have them reigned in yet. They have dug their heels in and they will fight, tooth and nail, to keep their pockets jingling.
    Lower fuel prices don’t always have to do with availabilty. There are a lot of variables in price, but drilling ALWAYS has to do with the environment. (the advertising was wrong, drilling isn’t “completely safe”.)

    We need to be careful what we wish for as Americans. The lwoer prices are, they harder it is to convince people that we need alternatives and affordable options. We also need to understand, just because driling may slow here, there are other issues….like damage to foreign environments and species, pollution and gasses, etc.
    We have got to remember to untite in demanding better, greener fuels and vehicles.

    I am so thrilled that there is finally some follow through. I can only hope we keep focussed on the big picture…and we should all send thanks and words of support to Obama’s camp. They need to hear that they are heading in the right direction.

  7. vickif Avatar

    Thanks so much for putting up this thread.

  8. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    On the first weekend since Mr. Obama was elected president, several of his aides said his administration would attempt to roll back a number of Bush administration policies, including tight restrictions on stem cell research and a push for oil and gas drilling in Utah. The statements indicated that the first few months of an Obama administration could bring about stark reversals on controversial policies.

    Looks like Obama is adding Utah to his first to so list, maybe our NP and wildlife will have a better change in the upcoming years! Yeah!!!

  9. john weis Avatar
    john weis

    Nothing like smacking a red state around a bit. I love it!!

  10. jimbob Avatar

    Buffalod, I agree with your assessment about gas prices! I just came to that same conclusion myself. It has to do with margins and borrowing by investors (alot of boring stuff). In a nutshell, those same investors not risking their own real money did the same thing to home prices. It is now happening with oil. They don’t have the same credit to “speculate”. It makes you absolutely hate people who gamble on the stock market for a living.

  11. jimbob Avatar

    I know I didn’t explain this well, but here goes: Many investors use margin to invest. They have money invested with a financial institution. They then can borrow more money than they have invested based on profit margin and their portfolio; sometimes significantly more than they have invested. So when investors and speculators were investing in oil futures and driving up the price they didn’t even have to have the money to do it. Now it seems most credit is drying up, including that of investment companies. The only silver lining to all of this bailout nonsense is investors were driving up the price of oil artificially without even really having the capital. Now none is available. Relatedly, everybody wonders where all of this money went. The money went to Iraq and the companies that have profited from the war and to the oil companies, who are not putting it back into our economy. Notice that even investors got few dividends during the oil price booms and record profits from the oil companies. Record profits should have equalled record dividends—-it didn’t. Think about the phrase “trickle down economy”. Now it’s not even trickling down. THAT is why it doesn’t work.

  12. Kandace Avatar

    As citizens we need to file a protest before December 12th – which is our chance to be heard and possibly stop the lease sales. Go on-line to Rachael Maddow’s show to Robert Redford’s interview on Nov. 24th on the issue. Grassroots efforts really do work – everyone needs to protest these lease sales.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan