Vernal, Utah - The Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness is the largest unprotected roadless complex in the lower 48 states and is important to Utah’s desert recreation and tourism, a $4 billion industry that generates approximately $300 million annually in state tax revenue and supports 65,000 jobs. The area is centered around the Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River, known for it's spectacular solitude, multi-day river trips, and awe-inspiring vistas. But now this remarkable place is once again in the crosshairs for destruction.
On March 16, the Interior Department issued the Gasco natural gas project final environmental impact statement and took one step closer to approving this massive development project, which would include 215 new Oil & Natural Gas wells in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness. Incredibly, those 215 wells (only 7 less than the company asked for) would fragment the proposed wilderness 50% more than even Gasco proposed in its initial plans.
Under the BLM’s preferred alternative for this project – Alternative F - the Gasco natural gas development project will degrade wilderness and wild landscapes, further jeopardize the region’s air quality and hurt the state’s tourism. In giving its tentative support for Alterative F, the Interior Department rejected calls by the Environmental Protection Agency and tens of thousands of citizens from across the country to approve an alternative to Gasco’s proposal that would have allowed for significant development while also protecting the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness and reduced the overall footprint and impact of the project.
Fortunately, there is still time for you to weigh in and tell Secretary Salazar to protect
Desolation Canyon! The BLM hasn’t issued its ‘record of decision’ for the
Gasco project and can still change its mind about which alternative to adopt. Please take
a minute to sign the petition before April 16!
Click here to tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to protect the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness.
Photo: Looking north/northwest from the Sand Wash airstrip (Sand Wash road leading to the river put-in below). Wells would be drilled atop the Bad Land cliffs (background) and on the western (left) edge of the Wrinkle Road in the photo.
Oil and Gas Leases Threaten Desolation
August 26, 2004
Gas Drilling Proposed in Desolation and Grey Canyons (UT)
April 24, 2008