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Jared Kushner is finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: A new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

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BLM Hits Reverse: Adobe Town Leases Pulled

April 28, 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The Bureau of Land Management has reversed course on five oil and gas leases auctioned a year ago in the Red Desert's Adobe Town.

Five leases have been pulled, totaling about 5,400 The leases had been protested by the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (BCA) and The Wilderness Society on the grounds that the area had wilderness qualities that should be protected. BCA's wildlife biologist, Erik Molvar, praises the decision.

"It really shows that the administration in D.C. is listening to what the people of Wyoming have been saying for years and years - that Adobe Town is a special place. This is one of those places in the state that ought to be protected from oil and gas development."

Most of the leases outside Adobe Town will go forward.

Molvar says his group and others have been working for years to keep industrial projects out of the area's natural rock formations and Native American sacred sites. He says this victory, plus expiring leases, are benchmarks of progress.

"Now there are large areas of Adobe Town that are not leased - which is a major contrast to three years ago, when almost all of Adobe Town was leased for oil and gas development."

Another 4,700 acres of leases were also pulled based on concerns for sage grouse.

The news comes during this week's "Red Desert Week" celebration, with events scheduled throughout the state.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY