We knew something was going on when we started getting press inquiries two months before the lease list for the September Utah lease sale was even released. It was a sure sign that a narrative was being developed by environmental Keep-It-in-the-Ground groups that was being lapped up by the media.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) generated a map with nominated parcels and started making the rounds with the Washington Post and Bloomberg. As usual, environmental groups are insinuating that there should not be leasing “near” national parks. It’s a consistent effort to assert a buffer around national parks, but of course, “near” can mean anything. We’ve seen groups complain about leases 50 miles from park boundaries because that’s too near. But even a quick look at this map shows that most leases are several miles away from park boundaries.
Flipping through TikTok this week, I came across a farmer who succinctly explained the problem he’s facing during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s the same one our industry is encountering. Showing a ditch full of rotting onions with his cellphone camera, he explained, “The supply chain is broken. Nobody wants those onions. I can’t give them away for a penny-a-pound. Nobody wants them.”
“When you close all the restaurants, you change the whole supply chain,” he added.
For Shay Myers, the farmer from Idaho, he can’t even donate his crop. He told a local news station that with the financial loses he’s already faced, plus the cost of transportation and packaging, it’s not possible to donate his crop to food banks.