Spokespeople from the Utah branches of both the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Trout Unlimited are raising concerns about the proposed lease of a portion of the Book Cliffs, a landscape filled with a variety of wildlife and valued by many hunters and anglers, to a petroleum company. The land in question is a road-less section of the cliffs packed with mule deer, pronghorn, bison, and even limited amounts of bighorn sheep.
According to Fox 13, sportsmen are angered by what some have called a “secret deal” between the School Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and the development company Anadarko. The SITLA board decided last week to award a five-year lease to Anadarko for oil and gas development across 80,000 acres of the Book Cliffs.
“We had absolutely no idea, and really the only time we found out about it is after the vote had already occurred,” said Casey Snider, coordinator of the Utah chapter of Trout Unlimited. “We got word from SITLA that it had been leased, and that’s just the way it was.”