The 77 government-owned parcels, covering some 100,000 acres in eastern and southern Utah, were leased in the last weeks of the Bush administration.
George W. Bush rushed the leases at the end of his presidency knowing that a Democrat administration would choose buying foreign oil in favor of the environmentalists.
Now the Obama administration predictably blocked the drilling. Actions have consequences such as the return of $4 gas prices and the increasing dependence on foreign oil.
Jack N. Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, the chief trade group for the industry, criticized the action, saying it was one of a series by the Obama administration to thwart oil and gas development.
“This troubling trend means less revenue to federal, state and local governments at a time when our nation is running a record deficit,” Mr. Gerard said. “It also means fewer jobs at a time our nation is headed toward 10 percent unemployment, and it means less domestic energy available when our economy recovers and demand rebounds.”
For several years Democrat lawmakers have prevented new drilling in western states, Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico.