Group files protest aimed at halting leases on BLM land in Utah

A conservation organization has filed a protest aimed at halting energy leases on about 188,000 acres of Utah lands.

The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled a lease sale Dec. 19 on more than 276,000 acres of federal lands in Utah.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s protest affects proposed energy leases in hunting areas of Utah’s Book Cliffs and Nine Mile Canyon.

The protest also affects proposed leases in fish and wildlife habitat in the Deep Creek Mountains near the Nevada border — the same lands the partnership successfully petitioned the bureau to defer from energy development in 2007.

The partnership protested leasing the Deep Creek parcels in 2007 because the BLM based its decision to offer them on a land-use plan that was 20 years out of date, said Joel Webster of the partnership.

The bureau now is trying to “ram through this sale before the end of the current administration,” Webster said.

The lease sale includes large areas of big-game habitat, mule-deer winter range, sage-grouse habitat and native-trout streams, the partnership said.

The bureau could pull the protested lands from the lease sale at any time up to the auction.


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