Landscapes

 

Take action today to protect the "world's longest art gallery" from the December 19 oil and gay lease sale.

Take action today to protect the "world's longest art gallery" from the December 19 oil and gas lease sale.

A lot can happen in a day, and we have exactly eleven of them left to make our case in Nine Mile Canyon.

On December 19, the Utah State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold an oil and gas lease sale for hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Utah, including areas in and near Nine Mile Canyon as well as areas just outside of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dinosaur National Monument. If issued as proposed, the lease sale would elevate the already high levels of industrial traffic in the canyon, which creates clouds of dust and corrosive chemicals that then settle on and damage fragile and ancient rock art panels.

While some recent developments have been positive - including the December 2 announcement of eight lease deferrals around Nine Mile Canyon - we aren't there yet, as sixteen art-rich parcels remain in the scope of the proposed sale.

There's still time to make a difference, but we need your voice.

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued a national action alert to drum up support for additional deferrals. Join us in urging Congress to persuade the Bureau of Land Management to protect irreplaceable panels of rock art by removing the remaining gas and oil leases in and around Nine Mile Canyon. Using our online letter form, you can get involved in a matter of minutes.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Breaking News: BLM Announces Lease Deferrals in Nine Mile Canyon

Posted on: December 4th, 2008 by Jason Clement 1 Comment

 

Left in the dust? Industrial truck traffic caused by lease sales threatens rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

Left in the dust? Industrial truck traffic caused by lease sales threatens rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

Plans change, and yesterday they started to change in our favor.

In a blog post on November 7, 2008, we reported that the Bureau of Land Management was reviving plans to sell oil and gas leases in wilderness areas in eastern Utah before the end of the year - a project that could include tens of thousands of acres in and around Nine Mile Canyon. As many of you know, Nine Mile Canyon is an unparalleled cultural resource with over 10,000 rock art images on more than 1,000 panels. Projects like these threaten the canyon's irreplaceable resources due to the ever increasing dust, chemical suppressants and vehicle emissions associated with industrial truck traffic.

Despite the fact that the December 19 target date for the lease sale is inching closer and closer, an important announcement yesterday demonstrates that it is not too late to take a step in the right direction.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation both commends the Bureau of Land Management for deferring eight of the approximately twenty leases planned for sale in and near Nine Mile Canyon, and urges the agency to continue to make decisions that protect the at-risk resources. The deadline for objections to the lease sale is today, and, as noted in a Salt Lake Tribune article that ran yesterday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be filing an official protest (which will be available online soon) arguing for deferrals for the sensitive tracts below the canyon's rim that remain on the lease list.

The lease list will be finalized by December 12. As we continue to monitor this sale and report on critical changes, we invite you to visit our Nine Mile Canyon page to learn more about our work in the resource-rich region and to download a lease sale map released yesterday by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Oil and Gas Leases Threaten Nine Mile Canyon

Posted on: November 7th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Earl Ivan White)

Truck traffic threatens prehistoric rock art in Nine Mile Canyon. (Photo: Earl Ivan White)

Late last week, media reports revealed a plan by the Bureau of Land Management to sell oil and gas leases in areas of Utah that contain some the nation’s most significant cultural resources, including ancient rock art in the Nine Mile Canyon region. The reports suggested that these potential sales are being conducted with unusual haste in an effort to complete the sales before the administration changes in January of 2009.

While fully detailed maps of the affected areas are not yet available, we have managed to get some additional information on the specific parcels that would be affected. Unfortunately, it looks like they include thousands of acres within Nine Mile Canyon, which many people call the "World’s Longest Art Gallery."

Specifically, the sale contains at least 21 parcels totaling approx. 36,000 acres that are either partially or entirely within the Nine Mile Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern (which covers a total of 70,368 acres). Although BLM will sell the leases with No Surface Occupancy (NSO) stipulations - which generally prohibit the lessees from constructing wells, pipelines and other types of oil and gas infrastructure within the boundaries of the leases - BLM will not prohibit or restrain the lessees from using Nine Mile Canyon and its principal side canyons to access project areas on the West Tavaputs Plateau.

So, if issued, the leases will in all probability increase industrial traffic levels in the canyon. This is bad news. As those who have followed this issue know, it is the dust kicked up by heavy truck traffic through the Canyon that is causing damage to the rock art (also harmful are the chemical suppressants that ameliorate some of the dust, but also contribute to the degradation of the rock art).

We will continue to monitor the situation closely, but from what we’ve learned thus far, the BLM’s proposal would further increase truck traffic through the Canyon and dramatically exacerbate the damage to thousands of irreplaceable cultural artifacts.

-- Ti Hays & Virgil McDill

Ti Hays is the Public Lands Counsel and Virgil McDill is the Communications Manager at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

January Decision May Seal the Fate of Nine Mile Canyon

Posted on: November 4th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will not release the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the West Tavaputs Natural Gas Full Field Development Plan (WTP Plan) this week as we reported last Friday. Rather, BLM will likely issue the Final EIS sometime in January 2009.

The WTP Plan, a proposal by the Bill Barrett Corporation to construct over 800 natural gas wells on the WTP, could cause truck traffic in Nine Mile Canyon to increase by an additional 500 percent, which would in turn expose rock art panels in the canyon to potentially harmful amounts of dust, chemical dust suppressants and vehicle exhaust. Check back in with PreservationNation in January for additional information on the Final EIS and WTP Plan and ways in which you can express your concerns for this proposal to BLM.

– Ti Hays

Ti Hays is the Public Lands Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

"World's Longest Art Gallery" Again Under Imminent Threat

Posted on: October 31st, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Truck traffic threatens prehistoric rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

Earlier today, The Washington Post and The Salt Lake Tribune published stories outlining the Bureau of Land Management's December plans to sell oil and gas leases in areas of Utah known to contain some of the nation's most significant cultural and natural resources, including the Nine Mile Canyon region. Unfortunately, this decision represents the latest in a series of moves by BLM to expedite oil and gas leasing and development near Nine Mile Canyon, an area with the highest concentration of rock art sites in the United States that is often referred to as the "world's longest art gallery." In recent years, truck traffic associated with BLM-approved natural gas projects near the Canyon has caused harmful levels of dust and chemicals to settle on the rock art sites. Thus far, BLM has refused to study in detail alternative access routes that would avoid the need for natural gas trucks to use Nine Mile Canyon, even though a September 2008 study funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation shows that these alternative routes are feasible.

Additionally, we have also learned that BLM plans to issue the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Tavaputs Natural Gas Full Field Development Plan early next week (West Tavaputs Plateau is the area within Nine Mile Canyon where most natural gas extraction is now occurring). If the BLM's final EIS approves the energy companies' proposals, truck traffic in Nine Mile Canyon could increase by an additional 500 percent.

Once you have digested Tuesday's election results, check back in with PreservationNation for more information on the lease sale and Final EIS and learn about how you can let BLM know of your concerns for Nine Mile Canyon. In the meantime, here's a video shot back in April, showing the damage done to the canyon's prehistoric rock art by truck traffic.

-- Ti Hays & Virgil Mc Dill

Ti Hays is the Public Lands Counsel and Virgil McDill is the communications manager at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.