Separately, the OIA and NOLS wrote formal letters of protest against the sale of 14 oil and gas leases bordering the Green River above Desolation Canyon in Utah. Over 200 parcels are slated for auction. The fourteen parcels of land in contention border a segment of the Green River, which is currently being assessed for federal protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The stretch of river that would be impacted by the lease sale is highly used and widely recognized as a world-class river.
“We ask that you suspend the sale of these leases until a decision on the merits of our protest can be made,” the OIAs letter said. “We also wish to address (parcel) UT 199, which was withdrawn from the September sale, and permitted outside of this protest process. This parcel raises significant concern for us; it could impact thousands of users each year.”
The letter also says that these leases directly impact both NOLS, which uses the river for courses, and many other recreation users. Existing oil and gas leases have already had a negative impact on the wilderness setting, and the OIA argues that additional activity will drive all recreation users away.
Since the Green River is under consideration as a Wild and Scenic River designation, the OIA also argues that any leases should be suspended, at least until this consideration process is over. There was no word from the OIA as to what effect this might have on their recommendation to keep OR in Salt Lake City.