Redford, Conservationists Seek Injunction to Stop Utah Lease Sales

A lot of the Bush administrations last ditch efforts are going to have to be stopped in court.

Redford, Conservationists Seek Injunction to Stop Utah Lease Sales – ENS

These are beautiful places and it is good to see big names galvanize to stop the leases – let’s hope there’s enough public sentiment to take similar action on some of the lesser known landscapes as well.


12-20-2008 Update: Imposter disrupts lease sale bids. By Patty Henetz. Salt Lake Tribune.

I don’t think anything like this has happened before. The enviro false bidder might have invalidated Kempthorne/Bush’s last minute fire sale of public land leases. This whole thing raises the question as to whether anything about this sale was legal or anyone really guilty given the political and probably illegal nature of the entire last minute process. Ralph Maughan



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  1. JimT Avatar

    And using the court is somehow new? VBG…People wring their hands over the conflicts between enviros and the extractive industries, and say consensus is needed, but in the real world–

    Extractive industries won’t change their ways, folks, without being dragged into it screaming and yelling about “tradition” like some cowboy-hatted Tevye. We are watching what happens to an industry when they refuse to read the handwriting on the wall in the car industry. And I can only hope that grass roots folks continue to badger, agitate and demand changes in laws and regulations that put the resource first; it makes scientific and logical sense. In the new B movie remake The Day The Earth Stood Still, there is a little speech from Reeves when he says to the woman character that if the earth dies, humans die. And if humans die, the earth lives….~S~ A little over the top, but essentially it is the truth. Mining, forestry, oil and gas, grazing…all of these industries need to have a fundamental shift in their consciousness if they want to continue to exist. And if they won’t make these changes on their own…then environmental lawyers will do what they always have done…force them to change. Without litigation, where do we all think the status of the lands would be now? Think about it next time you tell a lawyer joke while out in the slot canyons of Utah….

  2. SmokyMtMan Avatar


    I think you possess a very exaggerated impression of what environmental lawyers have actually accomplished in the past. Have they done some good? Most certainly. But we are still losing species and pristine habitat faster than ever.

    Also, you equate the extractive industries with the big 3 Detroit auto companies? I fail to understand that correlation.

    The problem with the big 3 is their products are seen as inferior to Asian products.

    However, Americans are still buying their oil, timber, beef, natural gas, nickel, coal, gold, etc that these industries bring to market.

    If it wasn’t for this economic slowdown, the growth of these commodities would be still going through the roof. Has nothing to do with enviros. Just market forces. That is the reality.

  3. vickif Avatar

    Rarely does any cause inspire the emotions of people like conserving the environment does. I can think of no other cause that inspires such passion and receives such little action on behalf of the government.

    I wonder if this is going to become a situation where nothing is solved outside of the Supreme Court, like so many others?

    In actuality, it is neither market forces nor environmentalists that are swaying things-imho- it basic human greed.

    Americans have lived with an artificially enhanced standard of living for far too long. We all need to realize that we have incomes-but for decades we have added our credit card limits to our annual income. Why? Because we want ‘things’ which we certainly do not need, and we scream bloody murder about paying for things we do really NEED. “Food is too expensive, gas, oil, clothes, energy is too costly and is sucking our economy dry.” What a lie! What is sucking our economy dry is our 6 flat screen, home we cannot afford, 150.00 dollar per pair of shoes wearing egos!

    This is no time in history more important than this time, to change this type of mentality. We have a situation where our government is borrowing money from our potential enemies (China and other countries are holding America’s financial future, and therefore our national security in their hands.) We have become a nation so depleted of realistic values that we are now borrowing money from communists. If history serves us at all, we can know with great certainty that communism and democracy don’t mix. It will end in war, and frankly numbers will win. We are the under dog—-and are out numbered in a huge way.

    The only way we can end the possibility of being decimated by our own greed is to look at situations such as the one in Utah, figure out why it is an issue, and end the issue.

    It is an issue because, though we need oil from our own nation to temporarily regain control of our economy and security, it is not a permanent solution-it is life support for a dying patient.

    We also need to conserve our natural resources including oil. People, if we can’t see that now, more than ever, we have got to come up with and implement better energy solutions we are screwed.

    Yes, we need to conserve wild lands and species-but more importantly we need to assure our ability to remain a free nation…to do that we have got to recognize that oil and our freakish addiction- feeding- desire of it has got to end. If we do not stop living our lives, organizing our government, and mortgaging our future to feed that addiction-we (Americans) will end up like any other addict….homeless, defeated, subjectified or dead because of it. This social mentality has already raped us of our identity as Americans….we are no longer a thriving country, we are seen globaly as a weak and vulnerable nation barely hanging on to our freedom. Deficating on our public lands and national parks and forests are just one symptom of our addiction.

  4. JimT Avatar

    I think unless you spend some time reading about seminal litigation cases that have saved millions of acres of public lands and wilderness, not to mention species that otherwise would be gone…one can’t really understands the impact. I agree, habitat loss is the single biggest influence on the loss of species, but how to you think you fight the loss of the habitat? Litigation remains the single biggest weapon in the environmentalist’s arsenal when folks like the extractive industries don’t obey the law and regulations. Litigation is usually a sign that other ways less confrontative have broken down, but it has come in handy many times to save things. If you want to go to law school, I can recommend a few…VBG…

    Car makers didn’t recognize the reality of their situation and they kept on the same old ways until the crap hit the fan and they HAVE to change now or go out of business; people have had it.

    Same with the extractive industries. There are too many public land welfare ranchers who simply ignore the conditions of the grazing permits without consequence, and the land shows up in reduced productivity. Too many greedy forest companies like Plum Creek refusing to follow sustainable forestry priniciples as well as laws and permits..without consequence. And so on. I think people are sick of it and hopefully instead of wringing hands and moaning about clearcuts, will demand of Obama and Interior that the resource health comes first, and these folks either radically alter their activities on public lands, or get the hell off.

    Market forces? I think people are experiencing what happens when we leave it up to market forces. I may be wrong, but I don’t think people will come out of this wanting to go back for another taste of the unregulated free market and what it does to their pocketbook and their public lands. Let them ruin their own lands; but it is time the taxpayers and owners of these lands to act like responsible landlords…use the public resources wisely and sustainably, or sometimes not at all, or get evicted.

  5. jdubya Avatar

    If this kid was in one of my classes, I would give him an A for effort. Makes me proud of the U!

  6. JimT Avatar

    An Economist!! And he knows he will have legal consequences and is prepared to deal with them..very mature. Amazing..he will get punished for an act of civil disobedience essentially, and the offering agency BLM is violating its own regs every day in hundreds of cases around the West..and….and…no consequences…

  7. Salle Avatar

    A friend of mine, in Northern Montana said he was willing to contribute to a fund for this guy’s legal defense if one gets started. I think that’s a good idea.

    The fact that this action took place is very telling in a number of ways.

    First, he was able to acquire a “bidding paddle” and he wasn’t questioned then but after he started bidding, the “regulars” from the industry complained about him being annoying, a “nuisance” and then the “authorities stepped in. The fact that this was to be an “open” bid process shows that they really didn’t mean it since only industry regulars were welcome. Any citizen should have been able to do so.

    Second, if this truly was an open to the public bidding process, he would have done nothing wrong except to not have sufficient funds for bidding and paying for the permits he won.

    Third, the fact that there was such consternation about him jacking up the price of the permits is telling in itself, these bastards expected to gain these permits dirt cheap and he, as a citizen, was able to counter that with the only tool he had left, actual participation in the process that was counter to their expectations.

    And then, the article also states that the BLM has decided to placate the industry wonks by rerunning the bidding process, however, by law, they ALL have to agree to participate and I think it throws a monkey wrench into it because that re-bidding process can’t be held until February next year, I think… I’ll have to check that again but I think this was quite the appropriate thing to do and I applaud, loudly, this act of protest in every way.

    Not only that, his permits came to some $1.7 mil… so maybe some of us can lobby for one of his advocates to buy them outright and hold them out of reach of the industries…..AND help him with legal defense.

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Well I am actually quite surprised he was allowed in, most times when your dealing with an auction that involved large dollars they run checks to ensure you have the funds available to pay for any item you win..

    Unfortunately, it is felony fraud to willingly bid on items if you know you don’t have the means to pay for them and depending on how the prosecutors wish to look at it, he may be facing some time in Jail..

    It would be nice to see one of the large national groups come along and pay the 1.7 mil and take these parcels off the market, then retire the leases..

    It will be interesting to see how this case turns out..

  9. Salle Avatar


    I would like to see his efforts rewarded. He’s kind of become the shoe throwing journalist of Iraq in some ways.

    He was doing what he could to show his opposition to the farse that was taking place with little objection in the public eye.

    The journalist was badly beaten on the way to jail and inside jail, probably why Bush was smiling afterward… KNOWING the guy was going to suffer dearly for his public action.

    Mere speculation on my part but the cynic in me feels that it is probably true in both cases. Note how the industry wonks WANTED the student punished in whatever ways were possible.

  10. kim kaiser Avatar
    kim kaiser

    i suspect, if you know anything about federal o/g leases, you will see the first payment is just the start, to maintain the lease without drilling, you must pay the govetment, lease rental payments, year after year on any undrilled or any land that is not under a production unit, i have said it before, and will say it onem more time, there is way more to federal oil and gas leasing than you may think, he may get it once, but i you cant make yearly payments, you lose it. hate to rain on the parade

  11. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    The national organizations have more than enough money coming in that they would be able to maintain the leases…I know a bit more about the system that you might think..

  12. Salle Avatar

    It was just a thought…

    that a few of us had.

  13. JimT Avatar

    If memory serves, like with grazing leases, there is a due diligence requirement to pursue the activities authorized in the lease. There was a case a few years ago that involved some enviros getting grazing permits, but not putting cattle on the land. The BLM revoked the permits.

  14. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Oil and gas leases that are undeveloped are good for 10 years as long as certain conditions are met. The owner of the lease is required to to provide a development plan along with a time frame shortly after winning the bid. If the owner of the lease does not adhere to the plan the lease may be revoked and then resold at any time during the lease.

  15. JimT Avatar

    I see how this can be a stopgap measure, but doesn’t solve the problem. Focus needs to remain on stopping the leasing process by BLM when inappropriate.

  16. outsider Avatar

    JimT please enlighten me and do tell when would a lease would be appropriate?

  17. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    An appropriate lease offering goes through the standard process, with all government agencies directly affected, like the National Park Service, receiving adequate notice and a solicitation of their views.

    The public too receives timely notice and a map, not just a legal description of the areas suggested for a lease auction.

  18. outsider Avatar

    So if it was inappropriate why not just get the courts to throw out the leases? They have a set of rules that they must fallow

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Brian Ertz