As the 7th Year Anniversary of the Master Leasing Plan Process Begins, BLM needs to Push Forward in Moab
By Jim Gale, Park Rangers for Our Lands
This month marks the 7th year since the BLM Utah Moab Field Office began a Master Leasing Plan (MLP’s) for 77 oil and gas leases that would potentially be placed in the shadow of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, creating potential threats to the iconic sandstone vistas and the related recreation tourism economy. MLP’s determine the number of leases for a landscape area by planning processes that consider potential impacts to surrounding land management agencies.
One of the failures of the BLM has been the incremental creep of oil and gas leases that have not looked at the comprehensive effects. The Moab Field Office is poised to do it right. The Moab MLP’s will help ensure that the leases are smart from the start and that the potential for oil and gas leasing can be located in areas that will not disturb or compromise National Parks and local and state economies. This MLP for the Moab Planning Area will help set a precendent for other MLP’s across the nation.
We hope that early in this 7th year, BLM can give birth to a landmark MLP that is aligned with policy and guidelines as directed by former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the current Secretary Sally Jewell. Let’s champion for a new visionary MLP in Moab.