U.S. to auction drilling rights near national monument in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal land managers said Friday they will allow drilling for publicly owned oil and gas near Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah despite concerns about disrupting the area.

The Bureau of Land Management announced plans to offer drilling rights on about 145 square miles (380 square kilometres) in a December online auction.

The agency cited President Donald Trump’s goal of increasing domestic energy production.

In a news release, officials said energy companies would be required to take steps to protect air and water quality.

Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert had expressed concerns in July about potential drilling in the area, saying it could be disruptive for visitors to Dinosaur Monument, a 330-square mile expanse in Utah and Colorado.

Herbert’s spokeswoman, Kirsten Rappleye, noted the federal government had deferred the sale of two parcels the governor was concerned about and placed restrictions on a third.

The restrictions are designed to reduce light and noise pollution and limit visibility of drilling equipment from the monument.

One of those parcels is adjacent to the monument and the others are within one-half mile of it.

“It appears the BLM did a thorough job in balancing out the feedback that the governor shared,” Rappleye said in an email to The Associated Press.

She noted Herbert had tweeted Friday, “Thank you ↕BLMNational for listening to our concerns about protecting the visitor experience at ↕DinosaurNPS.”

The monument drew about 300,000 visitors last year.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance objected to the planned leases.

“This is an outrageous proposal to lease and develop some of Utah’s most culturally rich and wildly scenic federal public lands,” said Landon Newell, an attorney for the group.

The BLM said the public can protest drilling on any of the 75 parcels that will be offered for lease.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Black Friday shoppers hunt for bargains

Red Deer retailers participate in annual event

A long wait ends: Trudeau to apologize to excluded residential school students

GOOSE BAY, N.L. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Goose… Continue reading

Trump wants to end welfare as Bill Clinton knows it

WASHINGTON — Overhauling welfare was one of the defining goals of Bill… Continue reading

UK bookmaker suspends bets on when Prince Harry will marry

LONDON — A major London bookmaker has suspended betting on whether Prince… Continue reading

Black Friday enthusiasm wanes as some consumers, retailers shun practice

VANCOUVER — Chaotic images of people clamouring to be the first through… Continue reading

VIDEO: Red Deerians taste what the city has to offer

Red Deerians sampled some of the finest foods Central Alberta restaurants have… Continue reading

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month