Protecting Utah’s Wild Lands

Earthjustice beat back an attempt by BLM and the state of Utah to open permanently open vast tracts of wilderness-quality lands in Utah to development and to strip the government of its ability to protect these pristine areas.

Case Overview

In 2003, the Bush administration agreed to permanently stop protecting millions of acres of potential wilderness. The agreement was the result of a suit by the state of Utah and others that was settled in secret.

Conservation groups intervened, and managed to preserve Bureau of Land Management’s ability to protect these areas.

The court and the BLM have agreed that the wilderness-quality lands can be protected, but they may not be called “wilderness study areas,” as they had been prior to the settlement.

Dinosaur National Monument.
Yampa River at the Dinosaur National Monument. (Photo courtesy of Chris M. Morris)

Case Updates

August 10, 2005 Press Release

Federal Oil and Gas Leasing on Wild Public Lands Thrown Into Doubt

Court withdraws approval of shaky deal that opened wild lands to development

October 11, 2004 Press Release

Court Rules Bush Administration Is Illegally Hiding Wilderness Documents

Court finds Interior Department gave no lawful reason for withholding details of 'No More Wilderness' settlement

June 28, 2004 Press Release

Administration's Stonewalling On Secretly Negotiated Anti-Wilderness Deal Challenged

Closed-door deal puts development of 150 million acres of public land ahead of wilderness protection.