What had the promise of turning into a winning streak for both the environment and Utah's extractive industries is threatened by a overly aggressive plan to drill some 1,300 new gas wells in the Uinta Basin of eastern Utah.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other environmental groups had been on an encouraging roll recently. Separate deals worked out between conservationists and a pair of energy companies allowed the drillers the Bill Barrett Corp. and Enduring Resources to go ahead with modified plans to sink gas wells in ways that minimized the potential damage to historically significant artifacts and sensitive environmental areas.
As long as the American economy remains dependent on fossil fuels, and as long as the development of those fuels threatens to damage both our natural and our human heritage, compromises struck by competing interests will be necessary. Recent agreements suggested that such compromise, under the All of the Above energy policies that leaders of both parties claim to embrace, could become the new normal.