For Immediate Release: October 21, 2003

Contacts:

    * Stephen Bloch, Staff Attorney, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, (801) 486-3161 x.16
    * Johanna Wald, Land Program Director, Natural Resources Defense Council, (415) 777-0220
    * Steven Hansen, Private Property Owner, Nine Mile Canyon, (801) 891-4540

BLM TOLD BY SISTER FEDERAL AGENCY THAT NINE MILE CANYON SEISMIC PROJECT MAY ADVERSELY EFFECT IRREPLACEABLE CULTURAL RESOURCES

Read ACHP Letter to BLM, October 20, 2003                   

SALT LAKE CITY, UT— The Bush Administration’s rush to approve an intensive seismic exploration project in Utah’s stunning Nine Mile Canyon region hit a major stumbling block yesterday.  In a detailed four-page letter dated Monday, October 20th, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), a sister agency to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), told the BLM that it had “prematurely” approved the so-called “Stone Cabin” seismic project and that it had mistakenly determined that the project would not harm irreplaceable cultural resources.  The BLM itself requested the ACHP’s letter available at SUWA’s website http://www.suwa.org/ as a means to resolve the controversy surrounding the Stone Cabin project.

 “The Bush Administration is rushing about to expedite approval of the Stone Cabin project because oil and gas development is its number one priority.  This project is a textbook example of what is wrong with that policy,” said Stephen Bloch, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA).  “We sincerely hope that the BLM will take the ACHP’s criticisms to heart, withdraw the project, and reevaluate the damage that it will cause to these spectacular resources,” continued Bloch.

 Johanna Wald, Director of the Land Program for NRDC the Natural Resources Defense Council agreed, stating that “time and time again we have seen this Administration’s unwavering support for extractive industry no matter the cost.  The approval of the Stone Cabin project shows yet again that, as far as the Administration is concerned, no place is too special to drill.”

 The BLM received over 24,000 comment letters, e-mails, and faxes from citizens across the country opposing the Stone Cabin project.  The BLM also received critical letters from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

 The Stone Cabin project, one of several such seismic exploration projects proposed by industry and sanctioned by Utah BLM in the past two years, is slated to take place in the Nine Mile Canyon area.  The project would cover 90 square miles of public lands (over 58,000 acres) and would include:  several culturally important tributaries to Nine Mile Canyon including areas proposed for National Historic District status; crucial elk winter habitat; and two BLM wilderness study areas (WSAs) and two adjacent areas that BLM recognizes have wilderness character.

 

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