by Robert Redford
From an email from NRDC
It’s Inauguration Day and all of us are focused on the historic proceedings in Washington. But I wanted to share a fantastic piece of environmental news because I know it will lift your spirits even more.
On Saturday night, a federal judge ruled in our favor and blocked the Bush Administration from proceeding with the lease sale of 110,000 acres of Utah’s Redrock wilderness to oil and gas companies.
This is a huge victory for our nation’s legacy of public lands — and a final rebuke to the Bush Administration as it slinks out of town.
As you know, Bush’s Bureau of Land Management auctioned off our Redrock wildlands on December 19, and was determined to close those transactions before the Obama Administration could take office.
But thanks to your outpouring of financial support, NRDC and our environmental partners raced to federal court and asked for a temporary restraining order.
This weekend, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina granted that restraining order, saying that “the development of energy resources…is far outweighed by the public interest in avoiding irreparable damage to public lands and the environment.”
The case will be heard later in 2009. Until that time, the government is prohibited from cashing the checks that industry issued for the contested wilderness.
Of course, we’re hoping that President Obama’s Interior Department will act quickly to reverse Bush’s attempted giveaway of our natural heritage.
Indeed, this terrific court victory, combined with President Obama’s inauguration, should herald a new era in which America strives to secure a clean energy future without destroying our birthright of public lands.
On behalf of the entire Board and staff of NRDC, I want to thank you again for your online activism, for standing with us at the critical moment, and for making this historic victory possible.
Natural Resources Defense Council
NRDC: Press Release – Court Orders Government to Stop Land Leasing in Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Erin Allweiss, 202-513-6254 or 202-277-8370 (cell)
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Court Orders Government to Stop Land Leasing in Utah
Finds in Favor of Environmental Groups to Protect Wilderness
WASHINGTON (January 18, 2009) — More than 110,000 acres of Utah wilderness will be protected from oil and gas companies as a result of a ruling last night by Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court. Judge Urbina granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from moving forward with these leases. A coalition of environmental groups — led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Wilderness Society, and Earthjustice — filed a lawsuit on December 17, 2008 to prevent the leasing of public lands.
“This ruling is a huge victory in protecting our nation’s pristine wilderness from destruction due to oil and gas drilling,” said Sharon Buccino, senior attorney for NRDC. “We do not need to sacrifice our wild lands to achieve a secure energy future.”