February 18, 2004

Public Land Policy Alert: Utah : Lands Leased in November 2003

Over 13,000 Acres of Wilderness Lands Bought by Oil and Gas Interests

At auction in November 2003, BLM offered oil and gas leases on 13,740 acres of land that BLM's "most experienced wilderness professionals" identified as wilderness quality. Industry jumped at the chance to develop these irreplaceable lands, placing bids on over 95% of the acreage. Among more than a dozen sensitive features, the land includes habitat for eagles and antelope as well as three municipal watersheds.


Summary of Wilderness Lands Offered in November 2003

Acres of Wilderness Land Offered 13,740
Parcels with Wilderness Land 18
Parcels with Wilderness Land Receiving Bids 14
Acres of Wilderness That May Be Developed 13,250
Average Winning Bid Less than $ 20/acre
Smallest Winning Bid $ 1.50/acre


About the Wilderness Land Parcels with Pending Leases

3 contain elk habitats
3 contain peregrine falcon habitats
5 contain deer habitats
3 contain Mexican spotted owl habitats
3 contain antelope habitats
3 contain municipal watersheds
3 may have visual impact
3 contain bald eagle habitats
3 have soil erosion concerns
3 contain golden eagle habitats
11 are on floodplains

Source: EWG analysis of BLM final sale list for the November 2003 Utah Oil and Gas Lease Auction.


Who purchased the leases?

Company/Individual Number of Leases Purchased
Baseline Minerals Inc. 3
Retamco Operating Inc. 3
SonJa V. McCormick 2
Tidewater Oil & Gas Co. 7

Source: EWG analysis of BLM sale results for the November 2003 Utah Oil and Gas Lease Auction.