Hatch: Interior Department’s Expected Approval for Natural Gas Development in Utah a “Step in the Right Direction,” More Work to Do


U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) welcomed the announcement by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar to approve approximately 3,500 new natural gas wells in Uintah County. Salazar is expected to make the announcement during a visit to Utah. Hatch is the Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus’ Public Lands Subcommittee.

“Utahns have gotten used to the Obama Administration closing off federal lands to domestic energy production, so this announcement is a long time coming. Extending the life of the activity in the Greater Natural Buttes area and keeping high production levels going for another decade will lead to lower energy costs and more jobs for Utahns. This expected announcement is a step in the right direction, but we’ve still got a long way to go.  The fact is that much more has to be done to open up more of our state’s land to development.”

The Obama Administration has repeatedly closed off more federal lands to domestic energy production.В In February, the Obama Administration announced that it was cutting federal lands in the West for oil shale development by 75-percent, and proposed a 50-percent royalty hike on domestic energy production on public lands. As a result of the February announcement, Hatch led the Utah delegation in writing to Salazar to encourage him to reverse the decision to cut oil shale development (to read that letter, click HERE).

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