Press Release: Finalized Moab Energy Plan Protects National Parks

The Bureau of Land Management finalized a landmark oil and gas leasing plan on federal lands between Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.

The release of the Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) is the result of a collaborative process where stakeholders from the resource extraction, recreation and conservation communities worked together to recommend how oil and gas could be leased on lands important to multiple economies.

The resulting plan either closes or prohibits surface disturbance on nearly 450,000 acres adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands, a clear statement that the Moab region wants to insulate its $262 million tourism economy from incompatible energy development on adjacent lands. 

Below is a statement by National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Southwest Regional Director David Nimkin:

“Energy development on public lands does not have to come at the expense of protecting our national parks. Local communities and other stakeholders should have a say in how their economies develop. After this comprehensive process, it’s clear that citizens and businesses in Moab support prioritizing the protection of two of America’s most famous national parks, Arches and Canyonlands. The BLM deserves praise for supporting this collaborative process and integrating these diverse interests in this finalized plan.

“Arches and Canyonlands are known worldwide for their rugged landscapes and stunning views. Had oil and gas interests been given unrestrained access to lands adjacent to these parks, it would have had a massive impact on park visitors’ wilderness experience and the quality of their, air and water. This Master Leasing Plan process rightfully showed that this was an unacceptable trade-off to many of the stakeholders.

“President-elect Trump’s reported nominee for Interior Secretary, Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana, said he wants to see more stakeholder input into BLM decision-making, and that’s exactly what this process exemplifies. The Moab Master Leasing Plan is the gold standard for how energy development near national parks should be conducted. The process was open and transparent, and allowed for input from all affected stakeholders. If the incoming administration wants locals to help guide development on public lands, it should look to the Moab process as its model.”