Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance * Equity Oil Company

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2009

Contact: Stephen Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801/428.3981

Conservation Group and Oil/Gas Company Reach Agreement on Oil and Gas Leases in San Juan County, Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) announced today that it had reached an agreement with Equity Oil Company (“Equity”) regarding certain oil and gas leases held by Equity in San Juan County, Utah.  The agreement resolves procedural issues raised by SUWA regarding Equity’s petition to reinstate three oil and gas leases within the citizen-proposed Hatch Point wilderness area. 

“This agreement gives SUWA certainty that oil and gas development in an important part of the Hatch Point proposed wilderness area will be subject to the applicable Resource Management Plan and additional restrictions,” said Stephen Bloch, Conservation Director and Attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. 

“We appreciate that Equity was willing to sit down with us and negotiate an agreement that protects an important public landscape,” said Morgan Wyenn, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Two of the three leases are located near impressive overlooks into Canyonlands National Park and this agreement means that those vistas will be protected from development.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved Equity’s petition to reinstate three oil and gas leases in the Hatch Point area in January 2009.  SUWA challenged that decision in an appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA).  SUWA and Equity agreed that IBLA should defer a ruling on SUWA’s challenge to give the parties time to reach an agreement.  After several weeks of negotiations, the parties notified the appeals board on May 22nd that they had reached an agreement and SUWA withdrew its challenge of the reinstatement decision.

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