SALT LAKE CITY― Opponents of the Trump administration’s plan to auction off nearly 10,000 acres of public land for oil and gas drilling near the Great Salt Lake will rally Tuesday to protest the lease sale outside Gov. Gary Herbert’s office in the Capitol building.
The Bureau of Land Management wants to allow oil companies to drill just west of the lake and in the foothills of the Hogup Mountains. Drilling here could harm historic artifacts, raptors and other wildlife and the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. The online auction begins Tuesday, yet Gov. Herbert has refused to object to the leasing.
What: Protest against the BLM’s oil and gas lease sale.
When: Tuesday, June 11, noon to 1 p.m.
Where: Outside governor’s office on steps of Utah State Capitol, 350 State St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Who: Friends of Great Salt Lake, Great Salt Lake Audubon, Utah Audubon Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Uplift, Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Utah Youth Environmental Solutions
Media Availability: Speakers will be available for interviews before and after the event.
Conservation groups recently met with Gov. Gary Herbert’s staff to explain the importance of these public lands and to request that the governor ask the BLM to defer the leases. Herbert failed to act, so the lease sale is moving forward.
“The Great Salt Lake is enormously important to the people of Utah and migratory birds worldwide and already faces significant stressors,” said Carly Ferro of the Sierra Club’s Utah chapter. “Adding opportunities to develop the lake’s adjacent landscape for oil and gas is a complete disregard for the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and all of the critters and people that depend on it for their well-being, which is almost all Utahns.”
“Gov. Herbert is bending over backward for the fossil-fuel industry and jeopardizing the cherished Great Salt Lake,” said Ryan Beam, a public lands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These public lands are home to plentiful wildlife, including millions of migratory birds. Protecting the Great Salt Lake ecosystem should be a top priority, but Herbert is knuckling under to for-profit companies and abandoning Utah’s natural wonders.”