Environmental Protection

Will They Drill?

Whether or not the federal Bureau of Land Management will drill into The San Rafael Swell - a prized geological formation in Utah - remains an area of strong concern

According to an article from the New York Times, the debate over whether or not to drill for oil in the San Rafael Swell is of serious concern. The Bureau of Land Management proposed drilling into the geological formation around a month ago, and has been met with concern from environmental groups ever since.

Though federally managed tracts of land have been leased to energy companies in the past, several groups have pressed against this one, as the Swell is an “untouched geological formation.” These groups, according to the New York Times article, fear that the Obama administration is moving away from its promise to be environmentally sensitive.

The main debate centers around the fact that conservation groups  think the Obama administration is not keeping its word about being environmentally sensitive, while the Obama administration is trying to follow through on promises it made to oil and gas companies to develop more public lands in an effort to capitalize on energy independence.

According to Cody Stewart, the energy advisor to Governor Herbert in Utah, the leases where the drilling would occur are not “high priority” conservation areas, reported the New York Times.

Though disagreements and tension over where to drill have been an issue in the past, conservation groups are particularly vocal about this latest decision. People visit the 2,000 sq. mile Swell for hiking, canyoning, photo-taking and more.  It had been considered, at one point, for national monument designation.

For more information, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/us/environment-groups-set-for-new-fight-over-drilling-on-utah-land.html?_r=0
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