Sunday, January 11, 2009

Under Attack: Bush's Plan to Sell Utah Wilderness

Actor Robert Redford, a trustee of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), has been active in fighting the Bush administration's attempt to auction off parcels of pristine land in Utah's Redrock Wilderness.

The region encompasses five national parks in the southern and eastern parts of the state and contains some of the most dramatic rock formations on Earth, including the world's largest concentration of sandstone arches.

"Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty of these places, but they do capture the absurdity of the Bush plan," writes Redford in a December 23 article posted on OneEarth and the Huffington Post. "Oil and gas drilling in Desolation Canyon? Industrial development along the meandering Green River? The thought makes one wince."

He notes that the NRDC and a coalition of environmental groups came to an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that may save 100,000 acres of endangered land. Though the auction went through, the deal temporarily prevents the BLM from issuing leases on 80 contested parcels of Utah wilderness until January 19, giving federal courts time to hear the case.

In a January 10 article on, Michael Winship reported on Tim DeChristopher, an environmental activist who was able to infiltrate the BLM auction for oil and gas exploration leases. DeChristopher, a 27 year-old college student, actually bid for 13 lease parcels totalling over 22,000 acres for approximately $1.7 million before he was escorted out by BLM security.

  • Help the NRDC stop the giveaway of America's wilderness
photo of the Sentinel at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: James Marvin Phelps

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