SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Despite opposition from Gov. Gary Herbert and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, the Utah State Board of Education has endorsed a lease that would open wild lands in eastern Utah to oil and gas exploration.
Board members on Friday voted 15-0 to back a decision by the Utah Trust Lands Administration to lease up to 155 square miles of the Book Cliffs region to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for five years.
The trust-lands agency plans to sign a deal next week with Anadarko to allow drilling on the state lands, including a scenic portion known for its wildlife along the Tavaputs Plateau in Grand County.
Herbert and Bishop say inclusion of that area around Bogart Canyon cherished by hunters will complicate efforts for a land exchange that could generate more money for Utah's schools.