The George W. Bush-era regional plans adopted by the Bureau of Land Management during the final Bush years are tilted toward oil and gas drilling, all-terrain vehicle use and mining and away from preservation of Utah's special places. The imbalance is obvious in the list of lands to be leased for extraction by the BLM in November.
Eighty-two parcels comprising nearly 144,000 acres in the San Rafael Swell will be put on the auction block for oil and gas development. Portions of many of the parcels have been designated by the BLM itself as holding wilderness and recreational values, including Eagle Canyon and the area near the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, labeled as wilderness inventory areas.
The 39,000-acre Eagle Canyon WIA and the 37,000-acre Lost Spring Wash WIA are among those threatened by the BLM sale: 10 leases on Eagle Canyon and 11 leases on Lost Spring Wash overlap into the WIAs. A total of 49 leases overlap WIAs. Once drilling is allowed there, those areas can never achieve status as wilderness or even as wilderness study areas.