Herbert opposes drilling in Book Cliffs

Aug 27 2013 - 4:46pm

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gov. Gary Herbert is asking state officials to scrap a lease opening wild lands in eastern Utah to oil and gas exploration.

The Utah Trust Lands Administration has agreed to lease 155 square miles of the Book Cliffs region to Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

Herbert says the trust has a responsibility to make money for Utah schools, but he issued a statement Tuesday expressing his displeasure. The Book Cliffs region is a refuge for big game, and sportsmen have criticized the lease.

The governor has limited influence over the independent agency. He appoints a slate of board members from nominees submitted by state education officials.

SITLA's deputy director Kim Christy says his board approved the lease on Aug. 20, but it hasn't been awarded yet. Christy says the agency will revisit the whole deal.

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