BLM backs off plan to issue drilling permits in Utah's redrock country


Drilling leases on the road to Dinosaur National Monument and on lands visible from Utah's iconic Delicate Arch and near Canyonlands National Park are off the block.

In the face of intense opposition from the National Park Service, members of Congress and a top official from President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management backed down Tuesday from its plan to sell oil and gas leases near national parks and wilderness-quality areas in Utah on Dec. 19.

The BLM also promised to consult with the Park Service on any future changes to environmental protections built into long-range plans for lands near the parks, said Mike Snyder, director of NPS' Intermountain region.