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Stop Big Oil And Gas From Destroying Red Rocks!

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Oil and gas exploration threaten the majestic beauty of Utah's Red Rocks Wilderness. Take action!

With its numerous national parks, and its towering mountains and rock structures, Utah provides stunning views and unique landscapes teeming with life. Utah's red rocks wilderness boasts colossal rock spires and beautiful desert wildlife.

But yet again, plans for oil exploration threaten another of America's scenic gems. The red rock area stands to be destroyed at the greedy hands of oil and gas companies that care for nothing more than profit alone.

The most recent lease sale threatens to blanket southern Utah's landscape of red rock canyons and natural arches with drill rigs, pipelines, and truck traffic, replacing the clean air, expansive vistas, quiet stillness, and sense of wildness with the sights and sounds of industrial development, all while expanding fossil fuel emissions that are driving the climate crisis.

At more than 114,050 acres across 77 separate parcels of public land, this is the largest lease sale seen in the area since the oil industry giveaways at the end of the George W. Bush administration with its December 2008 lease sale1.

Currently in Utah, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reports that there are 2,975,000 acres of existing leases across the state but that only 1,102,000 acres are currently in production %mdash; 63% of the existing leases are sitting idle2. There is absolutely no reason the oil industry needs to destroy our natural wilderness in the search for oil, while ignoring the leases already in hand.

The pace of new drilling has come to a near standstill and operators only develop approximately half of the permits that are approved. Oil permit applications are just over a tenth of what they were a few years prior3. As of February 19, 2021, only three active drill rigs remained in the entire state of Utah4.

Oil companies haven't reduced the number of active drilling sites out of care for the environment, it's simply no longer profitable to extract these fossil fuels. Despite the drop in demand, drilling in Utah has already returned to pre-pandemic levels3.

America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, first introduced in 1989, would protect more than 8 million acres of land around the state of Utah. Public lands are under increasing pressure to be developed or sold off, but this act will protect them while also helping slow climate change5.

President Biden's pause on new oil leases does not ban new oil and gas development on existing leases, but there are still those willing to stand up for our natural wonders. Sign the petition below and demand legislation that would protect this beautiful and pristine landscape.

More on this issue:

  1. Felicity Barringer, The New York Times (7 November 2008), "U.S. to Open Public Land Near Parks for Drilling."
  2. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (24 February 2021), "Get the FACTS about the Biden Administration’s Pause on New Oil & Gas Leasing."
  3. State of Utah (2021), "Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) by Year."
  4. Baker Hughes (8 October 2019), "North America Rig Count."
  5. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (2021), "America's Red Rock Wilderness Act."
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The Petition:

To the Secretary of the Interior and Senate Majority Leader,

Utah's Red Rocks Wilderness is a precious natural gem that is in grave danger. Oil and gas companies are looking to expand their drilling and exploration projects to this vast stretch of land that reaches from Utah into Colorado. They choose to ignore the implications that drilling and exploration would have for wildlife and the natural beauty of this region.

Although the Department of the Interior has previously established significant protections for this wilderness area, the oil giants are persistent and continue to lobby for more drilling. This is despite the fact that 63% of existing leases are sitting idle, and the profitability extracting fossil fuels has plummeted.

We need to pass legislation that would provide Utah's Red Rocks Wilderness with protections and prevent these greedy oil giants from destroying the land with exploration and drilling. I am writing to ask that you support America's Red Rock Wilderness Act and take a stand for our beautiful wilderness and precious wildlife.


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