The Bureau of Land Management released the latest draft of the Moab Master Leasing Plan on Wednesday for an area that spans from Moab to Monticello.
“Essentially it’s a roadmap for how leasing and energy exploration development will occur in the planning area, the 785,000 acres that we’re looking at more closely,” said Lisa Bryant, the spokesperson for the Canyon Country BLM.
She said it is now up to Governor Gary Herbert to weigh in on the most recent draft of the leasing plan.
The plan prioritizes new leases for oil, gas and potash in areas where there are less leasing conflicts. It will allow for development of potash facilities, which typically require more area to process than oil and gas. The plan hopes to minimize surface disturbance in sensitive areas by reducing the density of wells. Also, the plan would protect scenic areas of the National Parks, however nearly 150,000 acres of public lands will be closed for mineral leasing.
“We have an incredible mineral resource out here,”she said. “As little as four years ago, we had one of the top producing oil wells in the country. That really does speak to the richness of the mineral resource here. It allows opportunities for exploring and development of that resource, but we also have over 2 million visitors a year.”
Bryant said at least half of those people visit the impacted areas.
“As you’re making compromises and trying to find balance between the various industries, it does require finding that balance and it’s a fine line,” she said. “But we believe, yes, we’ve done that.”
The Moab Master Leasing Plan is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.