I just received the attached notice of cancellation of 77 oil and gas leases in Utah. These leases have already been awarded and bonus monies have been paid to the state of Utah. Indications are that the state will lose as much as $8.5 million dollars to the state in just the bonus bids not the millions that we will lose by not going into production. Take out the jobs, the local and state taxes and you can see the magnitude of this decision. More revenue losses to Utah state programs, more job losses at a time when we can hardly afford it. Please join with me in trying to convince Governor Huntsman that the state's policy of trying to appease and work with the environmental community rather than take a strong position on these federal land issues these past four years has now come home to seriously impact all of our constituents. I applaud the governor in his decision to have the state intervene in the SUWA/Wilderness Society lawsuit to cancel the leases which at this point is mute. Besides the cancellation of these leases, there are indications that Secretary Salazar is also considering canceling all of the resource management plans that have been approved in Utah. Seven years of work and millions of dollars of taxpayer’s monies down the drain. If the RMPs are canceled, we will be back in a situation that development of our natural resources will be put on permanent hold until the plans are reviewed and most likely changed for the worse. I am calling on the legislature and the governor’s office to begin at once with an all out legal defense of these leases and RMPs and a public relations campaign that lays out the fact that Utah is now the first casualty of the radical environmental agenda that we can expect to see implemented via this administration over the next 4 years.
This means an expansion of the SUWA/Wilderness Society lawsuit to include the secretary of interior. The action by the secretary is a breech of faith with federal government and existing law in the federal land policy management act of 1976, the mineral leasing act and the doctrine of state sovereignty. Please help me in this effort. School trust lands will also be negatively impacted from this egregious decision. With large one party majorities in both houses of congress, our only recourse is the judicial branch of government that may rein in this administration in the early goings. Not doing anything will certainly send the message that we don’t care about our children and grandchildren's future.
Representative Mike Noel
Cancellation of Lease Sale Contrary to Administration's Energy Goals
Interior Decision Detrimental to Economic Development, Energy Security,
Climate Change Solutions
(DENVER)- The Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States (IPAMS) today expressed grave concern over Secretary Salazar's decision to reject 77 bids from the BLM's Utah lease sale that occurred on December 19, 2008, saying that the action runs contrary to President Obama's energy goals and will have a chilling effect on Utah's economy.
"The BLM's initial decision to lease federal lands for the responsible development of clean, affordable, domestic natural gas was a step in the right direction in helping to meet the President's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy security," said Kathleen Sgamma, IPAMS Director of Government Affairs. "Ninety seven percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is produced right here in North America, and since it emits just over half the CO2 of coal, we will need even more natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Despite the rhetoric, there was nothing "last minute" or "rushed" about the lease sale in question. In fact, the sale was the result of a seven-year comprehensive, open and public land management planning process in which everyone - environmental groups, the National Park Service, EPA, other federal and state agencies, and the general public - had ample opportunity to comment. No new acreage was opened to energy leasing that was not available before, and no lands have fewer restrictions on them than before.
"We wonder why the Administration is implementing polices that will limit economic development in the West, decrease energy security and make addressing climate change even more difficult. Natural gas producers in Utah and the Intermountain West produce 27% of America's natural gas on less than 1% of public lands," noted Sgamma. "These lands, where vast amounts of domestic, clean energy are found, are crucial to meeting the President's energy goals of increasing energy security and tackling climate change."
"It's hard to imagine why this Administration would come out with policies that limit economic development in Utah. A lease sale is an economic stimulus to the state and federal government. The State of Utah and federal government are losing millions of dollars from the lease sale. At a time when the Utah legislature has contemplated cutting back a day from the school year to address a 15% budget shortfall, the state is losing income from its share of the lease sale, not to mention royalty and other tax revenue from forfeited production. With this decision, our government is denying access to American energy that belongs to all Americans, and making it even more difficult to increase energy security and tackle climate change," concluded Sgamma.
So you may be asking: "What am I to do?"
It's actually very simple. If you live in Utah, or have interests in Utah, then you MUST call Governor Huntsman (801-538-1000), your local senator (state not federal) and your representative and demand a lawsuit be filed against Secretary Ken Salazar and Barack Obama as stated above. Those leases must be honored. Progress must be moved forward and it is criminal that Salazar and Obama should strip Utah, Colorado and Wyoming of this massive investment into the western economy, even the American economy. The State of Utah must file a lawsuit now and wrest that power from the federal government and return it to the State of Utah.
If you do not know who your representative or senator is, click the appropriate link below to find out who they are:
Find your Representative
Find your Senator: Locate your county, and your senator will be provided.
Please copy and paste the text of this post on to every single citizen of Utah you know, we must all take action and take action now. It is time to draw that line in the sand and tell the federal government to “butt out”. It is my recommendation, that those in the states of Colorado and Wyoming follow the same course of action. Begin with your local representative and then spread the word far and wide. In fact, it might not be a bad idea for the 3 governors, with the full weight of their state legislatures, file individual state lawsuits and then one colossal lawsuit name the immediate and long term damages to our economies.