Posts Tagged ‘Bogart Canyon’

Oil, gas drilling delayed in Utah

Posted: September 28, 2013 by earthfirstdurango in fracking, oil & gas
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Previous, related article from Sept. 16th - From The Durango Herald (Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY – An independent state agency announced Friday it was putting on hold a lease for oil and gas drilling in a wild area of Utah in a concession to big-game hunters who rallied the opposition of Gov. Gary Herbert.

Sportsmen’s groups hailed the agreement between state-lands managers and Anadarko Petroleum. It delays until 2016 exploratory drilling in the 28-square-mile Bogart Canyon area of the Book Cliffs in Grand County.

The board of the Utah Trust Lands Administration voted Thursday to scale back the drilling lease for the Texas-based company. Anadarko can still sink wells on 150 square miles of more developed lands in the Book Cliffs region.

The deal gives Herbert and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop more time to explore federal land-trade opportunities that could compensate Utah for pulling back drilling in this area, officials said Friday.

The chairman of the state-lands agency said it will “fully cooperate with Congressman Bishop’s broader consolidation effort.”

“We are anxious to see if the process can provide an exchange proposal equal to or better than the agency’s current land position in the Book Cliffs,” said agency chairman Steve Ostler, a former executive for real-estate developer The Boyer Co.

Herbert announced his opposition Aug. 27, acknowledging the trust-lands agency has a responsibility to make money for Utah schools, but “clearly, a lot of groups are upset” about the Book Cliffs lease. He suggested the agency look to a longer-term strategy of trading less developed state lands for federal preservation, while taking other mineral-rich federal lands.

Officials aggressively developed Utah’s portfolio of checkerboard lands inside federal domain in Utah with real-estate sales and oil-and-gas drilling leases. The agency manages 3.4 million acres of trust lands remaining from a statehood grant for the benefit of the schools. The trust is valued at $1.67 billion, up from $60 million in the past two decades.

Officials expressed some concern Friday that back-pedaling on oil and gas leasing could shortchange funding for Utah’s schools. For that reason, the state Board of Education has endorsed the original Anadarko lease as the best decision for public schools.

Other beneficiaries of the state trust include a hospital and school at University of Utah dedicated to mining, schools for the deaf and blind and the Utah State Hospital.

Drilling delayed in eastern Utah

Posted: September 16, 2013 by earthfirstdurango in fracking, oil & gas
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Previous, related post: Utah opens Book Cliffs region to gas, oil drillingFrom The Durango Herald (AP):

MOAB – At the urging of Gov. Gary Herbert and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas in a roadless section of eastern Utah known for its wildlife has been put on hold until 2016.

Sportsmen’s groups hailed an agreement announced Friday between state land managers and Anadarko Petroleum that delays exploration in the 18,000-acre Bogart Canyon area of the Book Cliffs in Grand County.

The Texas-based company still can drill in the rest of the 96,000 acres it leased last month from the Utah Trust Lands Administration, which manages trust lands remaining from a statehood grant for the benefit of schools.

The agreement was reached after representatives from Herbert and Bishop’s offices, the land-trust agency and Anadarko met in private Thursday.

The deal provides time needed to explore all options for protecting prime habitat for fish and wildlife in Utah, said Casey Snider, Utah coordinator for Trout Unlimited.

“We’ve gotten a little breathing room. Now we’ve got to get down to the real work,” he told The Deseret News.

Last week, the Utah Board of Education rejected a request by Herbert and Bishop to delay exploratory drilling around Bogart Canyon after state land managers said such a move could devalue the deal they were still negotiating with Anadarko.

The two Republicans, who champion energy development, said the trust-lands agency’s secret dealings with Anadarko excluded the interests and views of Utah residents.

But Herbert and Bishop, in statements, praised the agreement to delay drilling in the roadless area.

“Providing time to work out a broader lands initiative through a more inclusive and balanced approach is a win-win for all Utahns, especially Utah’s schoolchildren,” Bishop said.

Grand County Council member Lynn Jackson sought assurances a final decision won’t be debated in secret.

“I’m still concerned about the process, and I highly encourage us as a state to provide a more open and transparent process,” Jackson said.

The trust-lands agency’s board is scheduled to consider modification of the contract at a Sept. 26 meeting in St. George.