Land v. Oil, the Lawsuit to Save Utah’s Parks
Environmental groups this week are furthering actions to prohibit the Bush administration from carrying out one of it final initiatives while still in office. Suit was filed on behalf of a number of these groups in the hopes of slowing, and eventually preventing, the Bureau of Land Management’s auction of lands located in what many know to be some of Utah’s most beautiful and sacred locations. The BLM stand by their right to auction the land due to its public nature and lack of protection under the Wilderness Act. Advocates for the Natural Resources Defense Council on the other hand believe just the opposite considering it the duty of the BLM to protect all public lands from what they deem to be unnecessary destruction. The debate will all come down to one simple question when it reaches the courts; which side is truly championing the rights of the public good? Unfortunately, with fluctuating gas prices and scenic landscapes regularly falling prey to development, the question might not be so simple after-all.
The BLM along with the rest of the Bush administration hold that allowing companies to drill in this remarkably untapped land will provide opportunities for releasing dependence on foreign oil. Of prime importance to the federal government is ensuring that the United States move as far away from foreign dependency as quickly as possible, but conservation groups have somewhat of a different goal in mind. Most environmental and energy conservation groups are more concerned over the American dependency on oil in general and stress the importance of making alternative energy sources readily available. In addition to their work with the energy crisis, groups such as the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition are distraught over the possibility that this historic land, containing not just beautiful scenery but also early Native American artwork, may be sacrificed in the name of oil.
It remains to be seen what the courts will decide in this manner but it most likely will not be settled until after President Bush leaves office in January. President-elect Obama and members of his cabinet have yet to comment on their position on this particular issue.