Statement from Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
Ancient, fragile rock art and heavy, dust-churning truck traffic – it’s a formula for disaster, and it’s been a reality at Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon for much too long. But now, thanks to commendable efforts by Interior Secretary Salazar and his staff, there’s some good news: The Interior Department has called a “time-out” on oil and gas leasing on sensitive public lands near Nine Mile Canyon until “significant progress” is made in implementing dust-abatement procedures and ensuring the protection of the canyon’s irreplaceable cultural treasures.
Today’s report underscores what the National Trust and our partner organizations have always insisted: We don’t have to choose between meeting our energy needs and protecting our heritage. We can do both – but only if all the parties involved, from federal agencies to oil and gas companies – develop sensible regulations and abide by them. We can’t take Nine Mile Canyon off the endangered list yet, but today’s report represents a major step in the right direction.
Why is "significant progress" needed in dust abatement? Two National Trust staffers found out firsthand in April 2008.
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