Groups consider drilling lease buyouts in Wyoming Range

Wyoming Range Legacy Act didn’t protect 77,000 acres of the Wyoming Range. New approach to be tried?

A lot of folks thought the tremendous victory of The Wyoming Range Legacy Act signed by President Obama last year stopping new oil or gas leasing on 1.2 million acres in the Wyoming Range and Salt River Ranges put the drilling to rest, but no.  77,000 acres in the wildlife rich NW corner of the Wyoming Range had already been leased.

Because the government creates private property rights (out of public land) when it leases, to stop drilling an oil company has to give up or sell the leases.  As a result a number of conservation interests are seeking to try a buy out.

Saving these mountain ranges from drilling has been an issue that generally unites conservationists of all types, including hunting groups. May this rare success continue!

Story: Groups consider drilling lease buyouts in Wyoming Range. By Mead Gruver. Associated Press.

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Obama to announce oil drilling and leasing moratoriums

Six month moratorium on new deep water well permits; lease auctions off Virginia and Alaska coast put in suspension. Partial ban on new spuds-

There is finally action by the Administration on oil leases and permits to drill in various places off-shore. It is expected that today the President will announce there will be no new deepwater wells spudded (to begin drilling)  in the next 6 months.  Oil lease auction sales in the western Gulf of Mexico and off the Virginia Coast are said to be canceled.  A freeze or cancelation of lease auctions is very important because once bought, cancellation of a lease by the government requires the government to repay the leaseholder. That can require a lot of money.

Lease sales and spudding in the Arctic Ocean (oh, my god, they were going to do that?) are on hold.

Meanwhile, we are waiting to see if BP was successful in their “top kill” of the big oil gusher under the Gulf of Mexico.

It occurs to me that one reason why the Administration might have been slow on this is that BP holds an important card.  If BP walks away, it’s not like the government has the knowledge or the resources to kill the gushing, ruined well.

AP source: Obama extends stop on deepwater wells. By Erica Werner and Charles Babington. Associated Press.

Update on May 28. U.S. to stop drilling already underway on 33 deepwater rigs! Reuters.

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Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf (map). New York Times.

Last minute court decision blocks sale of the Utah oil and gas leases-

Decision stopped bidders from taking possession of controversial leases just hours before they were final-

11th-Hour Court Order Blocks Oil and Gas Leases in Utah. By Felicity Barranger. New York Times.

A temporary restraining has order stopped the winning bidders from the Dec. 19 lease sale from taking possession of tens of 110,000 acres of federal land in scenic red rock canyon country of Utah. The temporary order will last several weeks.

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It looks like President Obama will call for a new era of responsibility on the part of citizens. It looks like folks in the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and the brave student Tim DeChristopher, have a jump on this. Hopefully the BLM bureaucrats will come out of the cave of fear they have been forced into and help bring us out of the dark we have suffered in almost every corner of the public lands.

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