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H.J.R. 19







Chief Sponsor: John G. Mathis

Senate Sponsor: ____________

             9      LONG TITLE
             10      General Description:
             11          This joint resolution of the Legislature expresses support for the current Bureau of Land
             12      Management resource management plans and the process used to complete the plans.
             13      Highlighted Provisions:
             14          This resolution:
             15          .    expresses strong support of the Federal Bureau of Land Management's resource
             16      management plans developed for Moab, Richfield, Price, Vernal, Monticello, and
             17      Kanab, Utah, and the lengthy, thoughtful, and public process used to develop the
             18      plans; and
             19          .    opposes current actions taken that contest and delay the resource management plans
             20      and the sale of 77 oil and gas leases on land in Utah.
             21      Special Clauses:
             22          None
             24      Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             25          WHEREAS, because the nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy leaves the
             26      economy vulnerable, serious effort must be devoted to decrease the nation's dependency on
             27      foreign energy sources;

             28          WHEREAS, oil and natural gas form an essential bridge to attaining a future of energy
             29      independence sustained by alternative and renewable energy sources;
             30          WHEREAS, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (Act) mandates that the
             31      Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manage public lands for multiple uses such as
             32      outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, energy exploration and production, conservation, and
             33      timber production;
             34          WHEREAS, the Act establishes that the BLM sustain the health, diversity, and
             35      productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations;
             36          WHEREAS, in making decisions about land use, the Act requires the BLM to develop
             37      resource management plans and update them when circumstances change and significant new
             38      information becomes available, and these important land use decision documents require public
             39      input and participation;
             40          WHEREAS, managing the nation's cherished public lands for multiple uses is a
             41      constant challenge;
             42          WHEREAS, citizens expect the BLM to provide responsible energy and minerals
             43      development, recreational opportunities, appropriate access, and healthy landscapes, while still
             44      providing an adequate level of resource protection to ensure that future generations will
             45      continue to benefit from and enjoy these areas;
             46          WHEREAS, the resource management plan process, developed by the BLM to
             47      accomplish these goals, is thorough, deliberative, and very public;
             48          WHEREAS, resource management plans provide administrative protection to certain
             49      lands, few of which are available for leasing, and carry major constraints such as no surface
             50      occupancy and no surface disturbance stipulations;
             51          WHEREAS, extensive state and community input is invited and submitted both in
             52      writing and through the public hearing process;
             53          WHEREAS, resource management plans for Moab, Richfield, Price, Vernal,
             54      Monticello, and Kanab recently went into effect after nearly eight years of development and
             55      review;
             56          WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of public comments were considered during the
             57      planning process;
             58          WHEREAS, new environmental restrictions included in the resource management plans

             59      provide multiple layers of safeguards to prevent environmental damage to sensitive natural
             60      resources;
             61          WHEREAS, the proposed plans envision maintaining areas open to oil and gas leasing,
             62      but also institute protective measures during development like timing limitations best
             63      management practices, and advanced technology to minimize the footprint of developing those
             64      important resources;
             65          WHEREAS, there was no cutting of corners or abridgement of processes in preparing
             66      the resource management plans;
             67          WHEREAS, due to the strong feelings regarding the use of public lands, every private
             68      group and government entity involved in the process would like to see some changes in the
             69      outcome, but all groups were heard and their concerns given thoughtful and careful
             70      consideration;
             71          WHEREAS, the state of Utah and Carbon County were cooperating agencies in the
             72      BLM's development of the current resource management plans, and both have interests in
             73      preserving the plans;
             74          WHEREAS, upon approval of these management plans, the BLM offered for lease
             75      parcels of land which had been set aside for several years pending completion of the resource
             76      management plans;
             77          WHEREAS, leases do not convey an unlimited right to explore or an unlimited right to
             78      develop oil and gas resources, but are subject to terms designed to minimize the impacts of
             79      development;
             80          WHEREAS, in addition to proposing an accommodation for the nation's pressing need
             81      for energy development, the plans also propose protecting public lands within the six planning
             82      areas where there are sensitive natural resources, making these lands off limits to surface
             83      disturbing activities and unavailable to oil and gas leasing;
             84          WHEREAS, this type of protection would extend to almost one million acres of public
             85      land in addition to nearly two million acres of existing wilderness study areas;
             86          WHEREAS, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other parties have filed suit
             87      challenging the legality of the BLM's December 19, 2008, sale of 77 oil and gas leases;
             88          WHEREAS, on February 4, 2008, United States Department of the Interior Secretary
             89      Ken Salazar cancelled 77 oil and gas leases on parcels of land in Utah; and

             90          WHEREAS, the lawsuit and the oil and gas lease cancellations strike at the heart of a
             91      careful, deliberative, and lengthy public process to develop resource management plans that
             92      would benefit Utahns and the citizens of the United States:
             93          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah
             94      expresses its strong support of the Federal Bureau of Land Management's resource
             95      management plans developed for Moab, Richfield, Price, Vernal, Monticello, and Kanab, Utah,
             96      and most particularly the lengthy, thoughtful, and public process used to develop the plans.
             97          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature opposes current actions taken that
             98      contest and delay the resource management plans and the sale of the 77 oil and gas leases.
             99          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the United
             100      States Department of the Interior, Governor Huntsman, the Federal Bureau of Land
             101      Management and its Utah office, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Carbon County
             102      Commission, the Kane County Commission, the Sevier County Commission, the San Juan
             103      County Commission, the Uintah County Commission, the Grand County Commission, the city
             104      councils of Moab, Richfield, Price, Vernal, Monticello, and Kanab, the Utah Public Lands
             105      Policy Coordination Office, the Utah Association of Counties, and to the members of Utah's
             106      congressional delegation.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-10-09 5:22 PM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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