Environment & Public Lands
3:43 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Reduced BLM Auction Brings In $3.3 Million

Well pump in Carbon County, UT
Bureau of Land Management

  The Bureau of Land Management sold most of the parcels it offered in today’s auction of oil and gas drilling leases in eastern Utah, but there was a lot of land taken off the table before it began.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:34 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Withdrawal of Lands from BLM Lease Sale Spurs Critics

Bureau of Land Management map indicating parcels withdrawn from the November 19th lease sale in blue. Parcels remaining in the sale are outlined in purple.
Bureau of Land Management / Congressman Rob Bishop

  The decision to withdraw almost 100-thousand acres of public land from tomorrow’s auction of oil and gas drilling leases is being criticized by industry groups and members of Utah’s Congressional delegation as caving in to pressure from environmental groups. 

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Environment & Public Lands
4:29 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

BLM Decides Not to Lease Lands in San Rafael Swell

On Firday BLM officials decided not to offer oil and gas leases in areas in and around the San Rafael Swell
Dan Bammes

Officials with the Bureau of Land Management announced today (Friday) that parcels of land in and around the San Rafael Swell will not be offered at an upcoming oil and gas lease auction.  

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Environment & Public Lands
12:26 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

ORV Group Reacts to Court Decision

The BLM's Richfield office manages public land in Sanpete, Sevier, Wayne and Garfield counties in Utah
Bureau of Land Management

  A group representing off-road vehicle users doesn’t think a court decision against a BLM Resource Management Plan means all the others are in trouble. 

The Bureau of Land Management issued six Resource Management Plans for its offices in southern and eastern Utah in the closing weeks of the Bush administration.  This week, a federal judge ruled the off road vehicle routes in the Richfield plan are invalid and ordered BLM to take another look.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:40 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Federal Court Rules Against BLM Management Plan

The Factory Butte area of Wayne County, Utah is covered by the Richfield Field Office Resource Management Plan

  A federal court in Salt Lake City ruled against the Bureau of Land Management yesterday in a key case involving off-road vehicle use.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:58 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Alton Coal Mine Expansion Still Facing Opposition

The Alton Coal Development mine in Kane County, Utah

  Environmentalists are reminding the Bureau of Land Management that public opposition to expanding a coal strip mine in Kane County hasn’t gone away.

The Sierra Club and other groups went to the BLM office in Salt Lake City to deliver more than 45-thousand public comments opposing the expansion of the coal mine.  The mine currently operates on private land near the town of Alton.  The agency is about to issue a supplemental environmental impact statement on the plan that could allow it to expand onto public land in the same area.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:31 am
Thu August 22, 2013

BLM Puts San Rafael Swell Areas Up For Auction

The federal Bureau of Land Management intends to lease nearly one hundred forty thousand acres in and around the San Rafael Swell in eastern Utah for oil and gas drilling. Many conservationist groups are angry about the lease auction, which is set to take place in November. 

The BLM itself has deemed much of the land to have wilderness and recreational value, but BLM Spokesperson Megan Crandall says that they decide whether to manage lands for wilderness uses or for other uses, like development.

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Science & Technology
2:32 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Discovery of New Triceratops Species Announced at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Nasutoceratops titusi discovered in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah
Credit File: Samantha Zimmerman, Natural History Museum of Utah

Officials at the Natural History Museum of Utah announced today the discovery of a new dinosaur species related to Triceratops. Paleontologists made the discovery in the nearly 2 million acres of wilderness in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Doctor Scott Sampson led the study following the initial find in 2006. He says the Nasutoceratops titusi  was unique for an oversized nose and long, curving horns.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:33 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Repeal of HB 155 on Special Session Agenda

Sego lilies, Utah's state flower, growing on BLM land near Moab, UT
Dan Bammes

  One of the items on the agenda of Wednesday’s special legislative session is the possible repeal of a controversial bill restricting the authority of federal law enforcement officers.  KUER’s Dan Bammes has more.

House Bill 155 limits the authority of Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service personnel to enforce state laws on public land, and threatens them with prosecution if they try it.  A federal court has issued an injunction preventing the state from implementing the law.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:52 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Sequester Cuts PILT Payments to Rural Counties

Rural counties use PILT funding from the federal government to respond to emergencies in areas such as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Dan Bammes

  Rural counties in Utah will get less money this year from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, or PILT.  The federal government provides the funding to counties with large areas of public land.  Garfield County has more than two million acres of federal land, but this year it will get just over $800,000 dollars from the PILT program.

County Commissioner Leland Pollock says providing services on federal land is a burden on local taxpayers.

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Environment & Public Lands
9:28 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Traveling the Grand Staircase - Hole-in-the-Rock Road

This sign marks the boundary between the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Kane County, Utah
Dan Bammes

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument covers 1.9 million acres of Kane and Garfield Counties.  It’s not the easiest place to visit, but there’s an effort underway to improve access along one of its most popular roads.  

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Environment & Public Lands
2:18 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Lawsuit Could Challenge Tar Sands Leasing

Potential tar sands resources in eastern Utah
Bureau of Land Management

Seven environmental groups are telling the Bureau of Land Management they plan to sue the agency over its leasing plan for oil shale and tar sands.  They say the agency didn’t consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the possible impact on endangered species.   

Attorney Steve Bloch with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance says the 60-day notice is required before the suit can be filed in federal court.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:58 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

BASE Jumping Fatality at Notch Peak

BASE jumper Fernando Motta posted video of himself at Notch Peak three days before his death.
Fernando Motta

  Notch Peak is a 9600-foot mountain about 35 miles west of Delta, Utah.  From the top, it’s a two-thousand foot drop straight down – and that’s one reason why it’s become a favorite spot for BASE jumping – jumping off the cliff with wing suits and parachutes.  There have been two fatalities there in the past year, one just ten days ago.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:31 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Final Plan for Oil Shale and Tar Sands Development Announced

PR Springs, in the Book Cliffs of Utah, slated for tar sands mining.
Before It Starts

US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced a plan to encourage oil shale and tar sands development in the Mountain West. The Bureau of Land Management released its final plan Friday to develop and test technologies to extract these fossil fuels in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. But the citizen group Utah Tar Sands Resistance says this move will endanger the environment and public health. 

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Environment & Public Lands
3:14 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Mining Claims Come Cheap

Abandoned mine in Frisco, Utah

Monday is the deadline for people who own a few mining claims on public land to make sure the government knows they want to keep them.  The paperwork is minimal and the $140 fee for maintaining a claim can even be waived.

Under a federal law that dates back to 1872, the rules for mining claims aren't that different for the lone prospector and the huge companies that extract millions of dollars' worth of minerals from public land.  That bothers Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club, who says big corporations pay almost nothing for the minerals they extract.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:09 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

BLM Approves Las Vegas Water Pipeline

Delamar Valley, Nevada
Kristi Fillman

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced its approval Thursday for a 300-mile pipeline from the interior valleys of the Great Basin to Las Vegas.  The pipeline would be used to carry more than 84,000 acre-feet of water pumped from underground aquifers each year.  The project is opposed by environmental groups, ranchers, local government officials and Native American tribes in both Nevada and Utah.

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-KUER News Pod
11:43 am
Thu December 27, 2012

KUER News Pod: Thursday December 27, 2012

The Salt Lake Tribune names its Utahns of the Year, Several Utah cities designate city parks as Christmas Tree drop off zones, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance moves forward with a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:57 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Challenge to BLM Plans Moves Ahead

Dirty Devil River in southern Utah
Scott Braden

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance filed new court papers last week to move its case ahead challenging six Resource Management Plans for Utah adopted by the Bureau of Land Management at the end of the Bush administration.  The new filings focus on the RMP for the Richfield field office, an area that SUWA lawyer Steve Bloch says includes some of Utah's most spectacular country.

"Places like the Dirty Devil, Factory Butte, the Henry Mountains, Muddy Creek on the southern end of the 

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Environment & Public Lands
3:21 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Protesters Challenge Tar Sands Decision

The "Tar Sands Monster" makes an appearance at a demonstration against tar sands development in Utah.
Dan Bammes

About two dozen demonstrators gathered outside the Bureau of Land Management Office at the Gateway to offer their own "People's Environmental Impact Statement" on tar sands.  They object to a decision by the federal government to make more than 130,000 acres available for tar sands development in Utah.  Right now, the only active tar sands project in Utah is the proposed U.S.

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Environment & Public Lands
7:40 am
Mon August 27, 2012

BLM Addresses Conflict on Movie Shoot

Professor Valley outside Moab, Utah
Brad Weis, Moab Internet

Utah spends millions of dollars promoting the state as a location for movies and commercials, and offers significant tax breaks to production companies when they come here.  A recent confrontation outside Moab caused some worry about the state's reputation as a prime spot for shooting movies.

Back in July, Jerry Bruckhheimer's production company was in southern Utah, shooting scenes for the upcoming Lone Ranger movie starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:32 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

BLM Delays Decision On Alton Coal Mine

The Coal Hollow strip mine near Alton, UT
Alicia Geesman

The Bureau of Land Management was expected to issue a decision this fall on whether to allow Alton  Coal Development LLC to expand its strip mine in Kane County.  But it's now decided to issue a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the project.  That won't come out until early next year, and it will be followed by another six-week period for public comment.  Keith Rigtrup, who has supervised the process for the BLM since it was first proposed in 2006, says they got a lot of feedback on the draft EIS.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:29 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Land Swap Proposed in Skull Valley

Areas highlighted in blue are currently private land. Areas highlighted in yellow are public land proposed for exchange.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is asking for public comment on a proposed land swap in the Skull Valley area of Utah's West Desert.   It would trade about 14,000 acres, mostly near the town of Terra, for a similar acreage of private land in and around the Onaqui Mountains east of Dugway. 

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance supports the trade.  Field Director Ray Bloxham says this is an unspoiled area of the state.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:47 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

BLM Approves Plan for Drilling Near Desolation Canyon

The Green River flows through Utah's Desolation Canyon
Adam Swisher, National Outdoor Leadership School

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved a plan proposed by Gasco to drill 1,300 new oil and gas wells in eastern Utah over the next 15 years.  Some of the wells will be drilled in the Desolation Canyon area near the Green River.  That has environmental groups warning of what they call a "disaster."

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