Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RMEF Praises Utah Governor for Stance on Book Cliffs Petroleum Development

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation applauded Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s call for a more deliberate, transparent approach to oil and gas development in the Book Cliffs, an area renowned for its prime elk habitat and blue ribbon fishing.

Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands (SITLA), a state agency tasked with maximizing income for Utah’s schools and children, authorized the signing of an oil and gas lease with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for a roadless, public area in the Book Cliffs known as Willow Creek. If the deal receives final approval, the Texas-based company receives the green light to drill on 96,000 acres of prime elk country. 

Sportsmen are upset with the lease because they had no idea such negotiations were taking place. Media reports indicate the SITLA board discussed details of the contract behind closed doors, then resumed its discussion in public and voted to approve the deal.

“RMEF has a long history of working with energy development and looks forward to participating in an open process to assure important habitat and wildlife issues are considered in the process,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We echo Governor Herbert in his request to slow down what’s happening in the Book Cliffs and let everyone know what is going on.”

“SITLA’s decision to lease the entire Book Cliffs block could be at the expense of a more vital and potentially more valuable land management strategy,” said Governor Herbert. “I am confident a better process will result in a better outcome that serves all concerned. I urge SITLA to reconsider this critical decision and not execute a contract on these terms.”

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 402 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Utah with a combined value of more than $44.4 million dollars that enhanced or protected more than 938,000 acres.

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