This is a real surprise, since Salazar was not considered to be all that interested in preserving national resources and is such good friends with the energy industry types:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is canceling oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah, according to sources familiar with the decision, ending a fierce battle over whether to allow energy exploration in the environmentally sensitive area.
The Bush administration conducted the lease sale in December, but environmental groups went to court to block the winning bids encompassing roughly 110,000 acres near pristine areas such as Nine Mile Canyon, Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.
Just before Bush left office last month, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina issued a restraining order on the lease sales, postponing the final transactions until he could hear arguments on the merits of the case.
An Interior spokesman declined to comment on the matter, but several sources familiar with the decision said Salazar planned to announce it today, adding that he can reject the winning bids without a penalty because the transactions had not become final and the department has the discretion to accept or reject lease bids that prevail at a public auction.