Conservation groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block the Bush administration's last-minute sale of oil-and-gas drilling leases in Utah near national parks and ancient rock art panels.
The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled an auction Friday to sell drilling leases covering more than 100,000 acres of wild land in eastern Utah.
Actor Robert Redford, a longtime environmental activist, called the lease sale "morally criminal." Redford, who owns a home in Utah and hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival there, said the leasing issue is emotional for him, since he has spent much of his adult life in southern Utah, on foot and horseback.
"These lands do not belong to Bush and Cheney. It's our land — public lands — and the BLM is supposed to be protecting lands on our behalf," Redford said via satellite from Los Angeles during a news conference in Washington.