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Redford protests drilling plan for Desolation Canyon

Published May 14, 2012 11:46 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Robert Redford is taking his defense of Utah's Desolation Canyon to the people of ... Colorado?

Redford penned an op-ed that ran Sunday in the Denver Post (owned, like The Salt Lake Tribune, by MediaNews Group), protesting a proposal to drill gas wells in the historic canyon.

The proposal, by Denver-based Gasco Energy, is on the verge of being approved by the Department of the Interior, Redford wrote.

Redford listed off the possible environmental damage that drilling 1,300 gas wells could have:

"Scenic roads throughout the region would suddenly be clogged with diesel trucks and drilling equipment. Debris from drilling and construction of pipelines and service roads would threaten tributaries to the Green River. Sounds of drilling would replace the last vestiges of natural silence and would be heard at Sand Wash, the put-in for recreational river runners vital to Utah's tourism industry. One of the most remote places in America would be despoiled."

Redford urged Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to back an alternative plan, which would allow Gasco "to drill more than 1,100 new natural gas wells on nearly 200,000 acres of land — just not in this sacred place."