During the George W. Bush administration's final months, the Bureau of Land Management released six massive resource management plans for 11 million acres in southern Utah. The plans, which opened large areas to energy development and designated 17,000 miles of off-road vehicle trails, were released on a short timetable that allowed little opportunity for public comment. Environmental and cultural resource groups objected, but the BLM made few changes ("The Great Giveaway," HCN, 10/18/08).
In early November, Utah's federal district court struck down major parts of the Richfield Resource Management Plan, one of the six, saying that it failed to adequately control off-road vehicle use or protect thousands of archaeological sites. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and several other groups are still fighting the remaining plans. Writes SUWA's Steve Bloch, "Those other five plans all suffer from the same flaws. The BLM should expect a similar outcome."