Help Protect Dinosaur National Monument

BLM Greenlights Controversial Plan to Drill for Gas in Scenic Area Bordering Dinosaur National Monument

MOAB, UTAH (July 10, 2008) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved a new natural gas well adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument, in northwestern Utah. The Vernal field office of the BLM, which issued the decision, approves more oil and gas leases and drilling permits than nearly any other office in the nation. Now, Dinosaur is in the crosshairs of this energy development frenzy.

The approved project would include the new well and access road into an area that has been proposed for wilderness designation by the Utah Wilderness Coalition. The BLM, scorched by past controversy over attempts to drill on pristine lands and near national icons, issued the decision without giving the public the opportunity to comment. “In the haste to open all public lands for energy development, the BLM has crossed a
line by allowing drilling so close to one of the nation’s beloved natural icons, Dinosaur National Monument,” said Scott Braden of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA). “The BLM is trying to slip this controversial gas well past the public without giving anyone a chance to comment on the project,” he continued.

“The Park Service has such a terrific management plan to protect the wild and scenic values of the Monument, so it would be a tragedy for the BLM to come along and put up oil and gas wells right on Dinosaur’s doorstep,” warned Tom Kleinschnitz, president and owner of Adventure Bound, a river rafting outfitter operating within the Monument. “My clients come to run the Yampa and Green Rivers in Dinosaur expecting a backcountry
wilderness experience, so these types of developments will hurt our business,” he continued.

Dinosaur National Monument has been threatened before by development. In 1956 intense public pressure defeated plans to build two massive dams that would have inundated the scenic and remote canyons on the Green and Yampa Rivers within the park which is renowned for scenic vistas, solitude and quiet. The Monument’s canyons are popular with river runners and visitors come from the world over to see the dinosaur fossils at the Quarry visitor center only a couple of miles away from the proposed gas well.

A broad coalition of citizens, outfitters and SUWA have called on the BLM state office to return this plan to the Vernal BLM field office for public comment and examination of the potentially devastating impacts.

 

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