February 18, 2004

Public Land Policy Alert: Utah : Lands Threatened in February 2004

Over 5,000 Acres of Wilderness Lands Offered to Oil and Gas Interests

At auction in February 2004, BLM is offering oil and gas leases on 5,090 acres of land that BLM's "most experienced wilderness professionals" identified as wilderness quality. Among more than a dozen sensitive features, the land includes habitat for golden eagles and Mexican spotted owls as well as two public water reserves.


Summary of Wilderness Lands Offered in February 2004

Acres of Wilderness Land Offered 5,090
Parcels with Wilderness Land 14
Parcels with Wilderness Land Receiving Bids 14
Acres of Wilderness That May Be Developed 5,090
Average Winning Bid Less than $ 20/acre
Smallest Winning Bid $ 5/acre


About the Wilderness Land Parcels Offered

3 contain elk habitats
4 contain peregrine falcon habitats
4 contain deer habitats
7 contain Mexican spotted owl habitats
3 contain black-footed ferret habitats
2 contain public water reserves
6 may have visual impact
3 contain ferruginous hawk habitats
11 have soil erosion concerns
12 contain golden eagle habitats
4 are on floodplains
3 contain burrowing owl habitats
4 contain northern goshawk habitats
2 contains sage grouse habitat
1 contains bald eagle habitat

Source: EWG analysis of BLM final sale list for the February 2004 Utah Oil and Gas Lease Auction.


Who purchased the leases?

Company/Individual Number of Leases Purchased
Retamco Operating Inc. 11
Thames River LLC 1
William P. Harris 1
Robert L. Bayless 1

Source: EWG analysis of BLM sale results for the February 2004 Utah Oil and Gas Lease Auction.