In a last minute move, the Bureau of Land Management in Utah postponed its oil and gas lease auction scheduled for Tuesday morning. Environmentalists who had been planning a protest held a victory party instead.
In a press release distributed Monday night, BLM officials said they were postponing the oil and gas sale to better accommodate the high level of public interest.
“We are calling it a victory,” says Vaughn Lovejoy, who is part of a group called Elders Rising for Intergenerational Justice. The local group is part of a national effort to slow down climate change by stopping new fossil fuel leases on public lands. “What we’re looking for is the cancelation of all of these fossil fuels being mined or being taken from our public lands, and to focus on renewable energy so that we can create a much more viable future for our children and grandchildren.”
BLM Utah spokesperson Megan Crandall says the auction will be rescheduled soon.
“BLM Utah is confident that the parcels we were moving forward with today which was 39 parcels - 37,580 acres - parcels that were thoroughly reviewed and that they were the right parcels to move forward with, and we were moving forward in the right way,” Crandall says. “When we do reschedule the sale, those are the parcels we will be offering.”
Crandall says about half of the land was removed from the auction last week, due to concerns raised by wilderness advocates and preservationists. She says those parcels are being deferred for additional review, but the remaining 39 parcels will be rescheduled for sale.