Salazar to cancel Utah oil and gas leases

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to cancel controversial oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah, sources say.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Bush administration conducted the lease sale in December.


Environmental groups sued to block the sales affecting 110,000 acres near areas such as Nine Mile Canyon, Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

Before Bush left office last month, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina postponed the final transactions until he could hear the case, the newspaper reported.

"What's significant here is you really do have Salazar taking a very critical first step toward restoring some sort of balance to the management of public lands," said Sharon Buccino, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We can have energy security without sacrificing the West's wild places."

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