- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Bureau of Land Management has released its master plan for the development of oil and gas and potash deposits in the Moab region.

The BLM on Wednesday released the management plan, which covers nearly 1,250 square miles south of I-70 in San Juan and Grand counties, The Deseret News reported (https://bit.ly/2ajt0kG).

“The proposed plan takes a landscape-level approach to balancing the protection of the iconic scenery in and around Moab and access to the rich energy resources found there,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a prepared release.

The plan, which is the first ever stand-alone federal land management plan, has been praised by environmental groups for its balanced approach to recreation, conservation and energy development, but Gov. Gary Herbert’s office has said it is too restrictive for business.

The plan proposes to close 226 square miles to mineral leasing, enforce a “no surface occupancy” stipulation on energy development on more than 340 square miles and to reduce the density of well sites and space pads.

The BLM considered about 28,000 comments as part of oil and gas reforms instituted in 2010. Two years later, the agency began work on the Moab document.

“As the first master leasing plan in Utah, the collaborative process that led to the proposed plan should serve as a model for how communities can work together to balance development with the protection of world-class environmental, cultural and recreational resources,” Jewell said.

The final version of the master leasing plan is under public comment for a month and will be reviewed by Herbert’s office over a two-month period.


Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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