Robert Redford joined members of Congress and a coalition of environmental, preservation and business groups in an effort to stop the Bureau of Land Management from auctioning Utah wilderness to oil and gas companies last month.

The 72-year-old actor joined groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and Earthjustice in announcing that they are taking legal action against the Bureau of Land Management to halt the leasing of more than 110,000 acres of land near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, and Nine Mile Canyon.

“You can’t put a price on silence or solitude,” said Redford, who is also an NRDC trustee. “Future generations deserve to experience the wildness and beauty of these lands, and to leave them as a legacy to generations that follow.”

The Utah Bureau of Land Management has conducted a series of controversial lease sales throughout the Bush administration, but the upcoming sale has been unusually contentious because of the sensitivity of the wilderness lands and because BLM inadequately consulted with the National Park Service.

“Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty of these places, but they do capture the absurdity of the Bush plan,” said Redford. “Oil and gas drilling in Desolation Canyon? Industrial development along the meandering Green River? The thought makes one wince. Utah’s Red Rock country is one of America’s few remaining wilderness treasures. It’s our land, it’s our legacy, but will it still be here for our children and grandchildren?”

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