The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) completed their Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) in Utah. MLPs were launched by the BLM in 2010 and outline appropriate areas where reasonable oil and gas exploration and development can take place with conservation and outdoor recreation in mind. From tribe members to industry representatives, to community members and the outdoor recreation industry, the Moab MLP was developed with input and collaboration from a diverse set of stakeholders in communities across Utah.
The Moab MLP is not just a well thought out and community oriented lands management plan, it’s also a win for the local economy. It incorporates benefits for oil and gas and for the first time, the outdoor recreation industry, which already plays an integral role in the economic success of western communities and is critical to their future. Just last year, more than 2 million people visited the iconic Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. Visitors from across the West and around the world generated almost $262 million in economic output for the local economy and supported over 3,300 jobs.
The Moab MLP delicately balances a variety of economic interests in Utah, and will allow both recreation businesses and oil and gas companies to operate and plan for the future with an unprecedented level of certainty. Furthermore, incorporating the outdoor recreation industry into our lands management plans today, underscores the significant economic value of our public lands, beyond their value as a domestic energy resource. This in turn incentivizes conservation efforts and emphasizes our shared responsibility to protect and preserve them for generations to come.
The Moab MLP should lay the groundwork for the development and implementation of additional land management plans across the West. MLPs ensure that the needs of stakeholders across communities, many of them with unrelated interests, are taken into consideration whenever decisions related to their use are made. MLPs are certainly a new way of doing business. They’re the smart-from-the-start approach, they mitigate issues among stakeholders, and bring communities together in the name of doing what’s right for our shared national treasures, our public lands.
We’re excited that the FEIS for the Moab MLP was developed by community stakeholders, for the community. Collaborative efforts like these are not always simple, however they’re proven to benefit the economy, the environment, and most importantly Western communities. We should look for common ground more often, and going forward in MLPs—in the name of healthier, safer, and more successful way to use and develop our public lands.