01/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Last-Ditch Effort To Save Federal Lands From Drilling

Reporting from Denver -- Environmental groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday as a last-ditch effort to block the sale of leases for 110,000 acres of federal land in Utah that the Bush administration plans to auction off on Friday.

Critics say the proposed lease sales are an 11th-hour attempt by the administration to leave its mark on the striking, energy-rich red-rock landscape of southern and eastern Utah.

The auction was announced late on election day. The National Park Service, which is routinely consulted before such announcements, was taken by surprise. The park service later objected to dozens of the sales, but the Bureau of Land Management moved ahead to sell the majority of them.

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