Last December, the Bureau of Land Management tried to sell some scenic Utah public lands for oil and gas drilling, but the high bidder had no intention of paying, throwing the whole process into chaos. Some of the lands were in close proximity to Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Dinosaur National Monument and Nine Mile Canyon.
In February, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled the sale, saying the auction was the result of "midnight actions" by the Bush administration.
This week, a new auction resulted in the sale of drilling rights for 55 parcels covering about 76,000 acres — about half of the land offered in the new sale.
When you hear about oil companies buying up oil and gas leases and wonder why they don't rush to actually develop them, consider this: The average price for the latest sale was $8.52 per acre.