VIDEO: How the Obama Administration’s Plan to Balance Conservation and Energy in Moab, Utah, Can Be a Model for the West

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new video, “Balancing Act in the West: How America’s Playground Can Be A Model for Recreation and Drilling,” that highlights an opportunity for the Obama administration to restore the balance between energy development and conservation on America’s public lands.

The video discusses oil and gas development, conservation, and the outdoor recreation economy in Moab, Utah, where the Obama administration is developing one of the first master leasing plans, or MLPs. A new tool to manage competing interests on federal lands before issuing oil and gas leases, the MLP for the Moab region provides the administration the opportunity create a national model of balance between conservation and development.

“The Moab economy relies heavily on outdoor recreation that people travel from all over the world to experience,” said Tom Kenworthy, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The Obama administration can create a model for doing things right, and truly balance competing interests on America’s public lands without sacrificing their natural resources or beauty.”

At the end of 2008, the Moab area was the subject of a national controversy when the George W. Bush administration sold 77 highly controversial oil and gas leases for drilling, many of which were near iconic national parks in Utah. In 2010, in response to the controversy, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, implemented fundamental reforms to the leasing process, requiring that master leasing plans be created to balance the interests of local communities, outdoor enthusiasts, the oil and gas industry, and other key stakeholders. The BLM is expected to release a draft of the Moab MLP later this year.

The video will premiere today at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Watch the video here.

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For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at or 202.478.5328.