- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - A federal agency is accepting public comment on possible leasing of public lands for oil and gas drilling that could take place as close as two miles from Zion National Park in southern Utah.

The Spectrum newspaper (https://goo.gl/EuYjdJ ) reports that the Bureau of Land Management is accepting comment until Feb. 10 on an environmental assessment of three parcels nominated as potential leasing sites in Washington County.

If approved, the parcels could be included in a scheduled June 12 lease sale.

BLM spokesman Ryan Sutherland says the agency wants to determine whether leases are possible and whether there can be protections for resources.

The assessment says oil production could provide jobs and other benefits but also says tourism could be negatively impacted.

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