The sale of the leases has drawn criticism from environmental groups who fear the sale would threaten Utah’s wild lands and spoil the view from some of Utah's spectacular national parks with drilling rigs. Robert Redford has led the charge.
An environmental activist disrupted an auction of oil and gas drilling leases Friday by bidding up parcels of land by hundreds of thousands of dollars with no intention of paying for them. The activist, Tim DeChristopher, 27, a University of Utah economics student, said he had accomplished his goal of disrupting the auction by winning the bid on 13 parcels and driving up the price of several others.
The Bureau of Land Management had already pulled some parcels from the sale in response to complaints from the National Park Service and others. Ultimately, the agency dropped more than half of the 359,000 acres first proposed for auction.