Herbert asks SITLA to reconsider Book Cliffs lease
by Rudy Herndon
Staff Writer
Sep 05, 2013 | 1558 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oil and gas development in a largely roadless section of Grand County’s Book Cliffs might come at the expense of a more vital and valuable land management strategy, Gov. Gary Herbert said last week.

The governor urged the State Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) to reconsider its Aug. 20 decision to lease nearly 100,000 acres of land in the area to Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

The deal gives the Texas-based company the right to search for oil and gas in exchange for a 17 percent mineral royalty payment, which would be diverted to fund the state’s public schools.

State education officials believe the lease could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for public education. But Herbert suggested that another unspecified option might offer better financial returns to Utah’s school trust fund.

The governor said he expects that SITLA’s board will honor its fiduciary responsibility to Utah’s school children.

“However, I call on SITLA to live up to that obligation and find the best, long-term agreement that will return the greatest possible revenue to the school trust,” he said in an Aug. 27 statement. “I am confident a better process will result in a better outcome that serves all concerned.”

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