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Fortunately, with the support of people across the country who care about the future of these spectacular National lands, we have been able to push back on the administration’s drive to “drill it all.” SUWA has recently received three favorable decisions on the oil & gas front, protecting close to 15,000 acres of proposed wilderness near Desolation Canyon from the significant impacts of new roads and oil wells.
Far from advocating a broad “no lease/no drill” policy, SUWA and its conservation partners are extremely selective about filing administrative or legal challenges to gas exploration or development projects in Utah, and throughout the Intermountain West.
A close review of the undiscovered oil and natural gas resources on proposed BLM wilderness in Utah reveals that drilling these lands will have an insignificant impact on the price of oil and gas both nationally and in Utah. There is little question, however, that exploration and development will leave lasting scars on this magnificent landscape, including the fragmentation of wildlife habitat, long-term damage to fragile desert soils, and the loss of wilderness values. Quite simply, once these lands are gone, they are gone forever, so future leasing and development of these lands should be prohibited.