The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected a plea to re-examine its decision upholding the withdrawal of dozens of federal oil and gas leases sold during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration.
Two Utah counties and energy developers asked the Denver-based court for an en banc or full-court hearing to air their arguments that the Bureau of Land Management should re-issue the 77 Utah leases that were reeled back in by the Obama administration.
Four years ago, freshly installed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided these parcels, some just outside national parks, were approved for potential drilling without an adequate environmental review. A few have since been released for leasing. Others were among those jailed activist Tim DeChristopher bought at auction with phony bids.