On election day, when the media and most Americans were focusing on other things, the Bush Administration announced plans to sell new oil and gas leases on thousands of acres of public land on or near the boundaries of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument. These new leases will go up for sale on December 19, just a few days before Christmas, when most people will, again, be distracted by the holidays.
The new leases took the National Park Service by surprise according to a Salt Lake Tribune article. Also surprised was the incoming Obama Administration. Demonstrating that change is coming to the White House, Obama transition team leader John Podesta said on Fox News Sunday:
"You see the Bush administration even today moving aggressively to do things that I think are probably not in the interest of the country. They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah that they're going to try to do right as they are walking out the door. I think that's a mistake."
Conservation Alliance grantee Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance encourages you to thank President-elect Obama for his concern over oil and gas drilling in Utah.
The New York Times published a good editorial about this bad idea on Friday.