President Obama Pushes the Pause Button on Oil and Gas Leasing

In a conversation with reporters yesterday, President Obama was asked about oil and gas leasing on federal lands. As reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, the President stated: ""We had an administration that I think was heavily tilted towards opening up lands to commercial interests, was less concerned with environmental issues and sustainability issues."  He also said, "I think it is entirely appropriate for this administration to take a step back, push the pause button and review what's been with regard to leases on federal lands."

The administration has already started this review. Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the Obama administration will cancel oil and gas leases on more than 100,000 acres of Utah's wildest lands - leases sold at the last minute by the outgoing Bush administration.

This announcement followed last month's federal court decision that granted a temporary restraining order against these same leases. In this case, brought by NRDC and our partners, the court found that the order was needed to avoid irreparable damage to public lands and the environment.