For decades, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has allowed four-wheelers and dirt bikes to carve up Utah’s red rock country—creating a spider’s web of dirt trails—without first ensuring that archaeological sites and artifacts from early Native American communities are identified and protected from damage and looting. As the result of a recent order from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, this is about to change.
The people living in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah are the unwitting participants in a massive scientific experiment. What happens when you put more than 11,000 oil and gas wells in a geologic basin and then seal off the air for days or weeks on end? And the initial results are alarming—smog pollution that exceeds the federal standard set to protect public health by a whopping 89 percent.
Signaling the end of an era in which off-road vehicles like ATVs and jeeps were allowed to run roughshod over public lands, a federal judge in Utah has struck down a Bureau of Land Management ORV plan for 2.1-million acres of central Utah.