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This could be a small victory for middle grounders in the entrenched war over Utah's public lands.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has just completed its public input process for the Moab Master Leasing Plan, which is intended to spell out which BLM land near Moab should be leased for oil, gas and potash development, and which should be left unleased.

The BLM must review those public comments, and an expected response from the state of Utah's Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office, before making a final decision. But the path to get it this far reflects a locally driven negotiation that is often missing in sound-bite-driven political debates. Both recreation and extraction interests came to the table and, for the most part, stayed.

In part, it has to do with the uniqueness of the area. The back and forth between Utah's extractive and tourist industries is more of a even fight in Moab and Grand County than it is in some other counties. With its two national parks and world-renowned river running and mountain biking, tourism drives the local economy to an extent not seen elsewhere.

What's more, the stakes of a Master Leasing Plan are much lower than they are in public lands legislation like the Public Lands Initiative that Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz have pursued, which would include land swaps and wilderness designations. And nothing in the leasing plan would be as permanent as the president declaring a national monument.

Instead, it's just about managing the land under existing laws and boundaries, and all parties are drawn by the hope that it brings predictability so tourism can develop where extraction won't impede it, and vice versa.

The MLP doesn't so much change the battle lines as it lives with them. One sign that this has been a hard-fought compromise is the fact that the Grand County Council this month signed off on the BLM's preferred alternative, but only by a 4 to 3 vote, and then only if the BLM does more to accommodate mineral development, particularly potash. The three council members who opposed it preferred to stick with the existing BLM rules, which leaves more areas open for extraction but doesn't address the growing conflicts with conservation and recreation.

Utah's biggest public lands battles are still ahead, but give the players in the Moab Master Leasing Plan credit for biting off what they can chew. If it's going to be a model, then other players will need to have similarly realistic appetites.