TRCP Welcomes Federal Withdrawal of Wyoming Energy Leases

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TRCP Welcomes Federal Withdrawal of Wyoming Energy Leases

12/4/07

WASHINGTON - Following widespread condemnation from citizens, officials and sportsmen alike, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has withdrawn 13 parcels totaling approximately 28,500 acres from its Dec. 4 energy lease sale. The 13 parcels, located in southeastern Wyoming's North Platte Valley, were deferred to allow the agency to update its resource management plan for the region and to address concerns raised by the state of Wyoming.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a conservation coalition that earlier protested the inclusion of these parcels in the lease sale, applauded the BLM action. "The BLM made the right decision regarding the North Platte Valley parcels," said TRCP Energy Initiative Manager Steve Belinda. "Energy development in the area would have seriously compromised blue-ribbon trout fisheries and crucial big-game winter range, eliminating sporting traditions and irrevocably altering the economy of this part of southeastern Wyoming."

The North Platte Valley leases were denounced by Wyoming citizens, elected officials and state agencies, as well as by sportsmen. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, Carbon County and the towns of Encampment, Riverside and Saratoga were among those that opposed the BLM plans to open the area to energy development. A total of 88 formal protests were received for the upcoming lease sale, the bulk of them were for parcels in the Platte Valley.

"Citizens should not have to go to such extreme lengths to defend their livelihoods and quality of life," said TRCP Field Representative Dwayne Meadows. Meadows, who grew up in Saratoga and has hunted and fished in the region since childhood, worked to inform residents about the BLM development plans for the valley.

"We appreciate the efforts by Governor Freudenthal and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to expose the BLM's errors," Meadows continued. "Their voices, combined with the thousands of Wyomingites who would be impacted by oil and gas development in the North Platte Valley, helped ensure the continuity of our sporting traditions."

"We're pleased to see the BLM recognizing its mistake in Wyoming," said TRCP President and CEO George Cooper. "Yet the fact remains that the agency routinely ignores outdated resource management plans in a rushed drive to open our public lands to energy development. We support development of energy resources on our public lands but there are certain pieces of our lands that shouldn't be available for energy leasing or only available with specific fish and wildlife safeguards. Why does it take public outcry of these dimensions for the BLM to reverse faulty planning decisions?"

The TRCP believes that to better balance the concerns of fish and wildlife in the face of accelerating energy development, federal land management agencies must follow the conservation tenets outlined in the FACTS for Fish and Wildlife.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

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Media Contact:
Dwayne Meadows, 307-760-6802, [email protected]
 


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