Utah workers criticize voiding of drilling leases

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Vernal, Utah (AP) - Hundreds of oil and gas field workers and their families have complained to a federal official about the decision to void 77 drilling leases that were auctioned off by the Bush administration.

Deputy Interior Department Secretary David Hayes visited Vernal in northeast Utah on Tuesday to hear what people think of the February decision by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to void the leases.

Salazar said the parcels are too close to some of Utah's national parks.
On Tuesday, people complained that shelving the leases will cost jobs and weaken the effort for energy independence.

Other speakers supported the move, saying leaving the land undeveloped would boost tourism.

Hayes says he will report to Salazar by the end of next week.

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