Federal Judge Halts December 2008 Lease Sale
Issues Temporary Restraining Order

On Saturday, January 17th a Federal District Court judge in Washnigton D.C. ruled in favor of SUWA and 6 other environmental groups to temporarily block the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from leasing more than 100,000 acres of Utah's wild and culturally significant public lands. 

On December 17, 2008, SUWA, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Grand Canyon Trust, the National Parks Conservation Association, The Wilderness Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed a lawsuit in federal district court  challenging the BLM's December 2008 oil and gas lease sale. This now infamous sale included tracts near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, and Nine Mile Canyon and was based on hastily approved resource management plans that have opened up million acres of Utah's public lands to potential damage.

The recent ruling prohibits the BLM from issuing 77 oil and gas leases in Utah wildlands until the lawsuit is resolved later this year. Importantly, the judge's January 17 order stated we are likely to succeed on the merits of the case because of the legitimacy of our concerns, especially regarding damage to air quality, and potential for irreparable damage to some of Utah's amazing wild landscapes.

 

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