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EWG INVESTIGATION

 

1: Executive Summary

2: About Oil/Gas Leases

3: Oil & Gas Impacts

4: Bush Admin Rollbacks

5: The Spin on Drilling

6: Hotspot: Roan Plateau, CO

7: Hotspot: Otero Mesa, NM

8: Hotspot: Rocky Mtn Front, MT

9: Hotspot: Powder River Basin, WY

10: Hotspot: Book Cliffs, UT

11: Oil, Gas, Political Cash

12: EWG Recommendations

13: Methodology

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Book Cliffs, Uinta Basin, Utah

"The proposed action plans the construction of about 15 [miles] of access roads and 50 well pads in the White River inventory unit. These areas would lose their wilderness characteristics."

— Bureau of Land Management, Resource Development Group Uinta Basin Natural Gas Project, Draft Environmental Impact Study, July 2003

Quick Facts: Federal Land in Book Cliffs Area
  • Acres leased: 323,509
  • Acres leased (01/2003-05/2004): 5,722
  • Oil in greater Book Cliffs area could supply U.S. for: 11 days (EIA Petroleum Products 2002, Energy Inventory Factsheet 2003)
  • Gas in greater Book Cliffs area could supply U.S. for: 257 days (USDOE Natural Gas 2004, Energy Inventory Factsheet 2003)

Drilling in Utah's Wilderness

For less than 257 days of natural gas, the BLM is considering a gas industry plan that could place up to 423 natural gas wells on 80,000 acres of one of Utah's most spectacular wild areas.

The Book Cliffs, the site of the proposed development, is part of the Uinta Basin, an area of about 6,969,500 acres in East-Central Utah. The Book Cliffs area is a remote land, named for its 250-mile-long, 2,000-foot-high row of cliffs, the longest continuous such formation in the world. The Book Cliffs is also home to abundant wildlife including black bear, mountain lions, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons — a species that was just recently removed from the Endangered Species list. The BLM has described Gray Canyon in the Book Cliffs area as "a place where a visitor can experience true solitude — where the forces of nature continue to shape the colorful, rugged landscape." (BLM Description of Book Cliffs 1998, UDEQ 2004, BLM Photo Archive 2001, Britannica Book Cliffs 2004.)


Map

Book Cliffs Interactive Map

Map Note: The Book Cliffs Recreation Area depicted in red is land in eastern Utah that is home to wilderness, abundant wildlife, and the Book Cliffs, a 250-mile-long, 2,000-foot-high row of cliffs, the longest continuous such formation in the world. BLM is considering a plan by three energy companies to drill as many as 423 natural gas wells in the area outlined in red as RDEG Proposal (National Atlas 2003, Energy Inventory 2003, Public Lands Center 2004, BLM Vernal Office 2004).

An Environmental Working Group analysis of government leasing and drilling records shows that the oil and gas industry already pressures local wildlife — a summary of current leasing activity in the Cliffs is shown below.