Recently the Bureau of Land Management deferred oil and gas leases for 100,000 acres around the spectacular San Rafael Swell region to give the agency additional time to consider impacts on non-energy resources. These include potential recreation and cultural areas, sensitive species, archaeological sites and impacts to the Old Spanish Trail.
While not directly engaged in protesting the lease sales, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) supports this deferral because it begins to strike the right balance for economic development across Utah; the action moves forward with some leases, takes care of what we have in recreationally significant public lands and guarantees appropriate parcels may be leased once the BLM review is completed.
It makes sense for Congressional leaders to be vocally supportive of public land managers, like Utah's BLM Director Juan Palma, who strive to strike an appropriate and proportional economic balance for citizens. Tying up every acre in Utah for any single industry, whether that is energy development or outdoor recreation, is not in the state's remunerative interest. An economic strategy that is built to last requires a pragmatic and lucrative symmetry between extraction, recreation and conservation.