SALT LAKE CITY — The newly named director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Utah will take the role at a time of high tension over public lands in the West.

Edwin L. Roberson has been a leader with the bureau for 37 years, the Deseret News reported (http://bit.ly/2bslNNT ).

“Ed is a good listener, a proven coalition-builder and a natural leader. We are fortunate to have his experience and expertise in Utah,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said. “Ed has guided some of the agency’s most important work during his career, and his experience working with local communities makes him the perfect fit for this job.”

He will step into a job on Oct. 3 that Juan Palma vacated over a year ago.

There are 23 million acres of public land and 32 million acres of mineral and energy resources under the purview of Utah bureau staff.

Utah has been the site of several spats between the government and residents. An ATV protest ride against the bureau’s road closures led to criminal convictions for some. Federal sage grouse conservation plans prompted lawsuits from Utah and some other Western states.

The Utah bureau became the first in the country to put off selling an oil and gas lease in light of a planned protest from the Keep It in the Ground Movement.

Wild horse and burro management has also been the cause of controversy and a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior from ranchers.


Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com