"The Interior Department has received over 230 nominations for oil and gas leases covering more than 150,000 acres across southern Utah, a push that would bring drilling as close as a half-mile from some of the nation’s most famous protected sites, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
The petitions for the Bureau of Land Management’s September lease sale, some of which come from anonymous potential bidders, could transform a region renowned for its pristine night skies and stunning topography. Some of the parcels are also within 10 miles of Bears Ears National Monument’s current boundaries.
“This is a scale like nothing we’ve seen so far as far as leasing outside our national parks,” said Erika Pollard, associate director for the southwest region at the National Parks Conservation Association. “ . . . It’s a big chunk of the public land out there.”"