Victory! No New Drilling In Wyoming National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service decided Tuesday that oil and gas companies will not be granted new drilling leases on 44,720 acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

“After considering all the alternatives, and the environmental impacts associated with each, I have determined this is the best course of action,” Bridger-Toton National Forest supervisory Jacque Buchanan said. “No single factor led me to this decision. Rather, it was the combination of the sensitivity and values of the area, the magnitude of other activities currently underway or planned with potentially cumulative impacts, and the concerns of citizens, organizations and other agencies.”

Unfortunately, the over 9,700 existing wells in the area will not be affected by this decision.

Environmentalists who have been fighting to protect this pristine area are thrilled with the announcement, but some Wyoming residents, including Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy), responded with sharp criticism.

Lummis told the media that the decision was based on “everything but jobs, the economy, energy independence and national security” adding that it puts Wyoming’s “multiple use lands under lock and key.”

Wyoming is one of the largest petroleum-producing states in the U.S., exporting over 51 million barrels in 2009 (the lowest level since 1954). Wyoming’s petroleum industry directly employs approximately 20,000 people with an annual payroll of over $3.6 billion (PAWYO).

Preserving habitat for the Canada Lynx was one of the Forest Service’s main concerns when weighing the economic and environmental consequences of new drilling in the National Forest.

“There is so little documentation and understanding of that species. To make decisions without a complete picture of its habitat creates a lot of uncertainty not only for energy companies but other users of the public’s land,” said Wyoming’s new Governor Matt Meade (Daily Hiker).

Related Reading:
Oil and Gas Companies Target Utah’s Red Rock Country
Gas Co. Investors Demand Disclosure Of Fracking Chemicals
White House Bans Offshore Drilling For Seven More Years

Image Credit: Flickr - Wyoming Upper Green River Valley

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Travis Flickinger

great, now for the rest of the planet

Will L.
Past Member 4 years ago


Kelly M.
Kelly R.4 years ago


Ann P.
A P.4 years ago

The plan is to make ourselves independent of ALL dirty and fossil fuels to the greatest extent possible. Through increased efficiency and decreasing waste - which saves money for people and businesses; by alternative energy sources solar, wind, geothermal, methane capture from waste, bio-fuels from algae, wave technology in the future. Time to move into the 21st century. There was a very interesting show on the History Channel involving a discussion between six futurists called "Prophets of Doom" Each discussing what they think our greatest threat is. Quite fascinating. The point is not doom but what must we do to avoid it.

Lisa Neste
Lisa Neste4 years ago

Some good news!!!

Lynn C.
Lynn C.4 years ago

Good start - but until we wean ourselves from ALL of the products made from oil and gas wells or it becomes economically unfeasible to extract, we'll have a constant battle.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago

good news and thanx :)

Janyce Stockstill
Janyce S.4 years ago

Now is the time to start shutting down the existing sites.

Rudica R.
Rudica R.4 years ago

Great news! hope it stays and is not given away in some back room deal for some big bucks. Focus should be on clean energy without sacrificing our lands.

Betsy M.
Betsy M.4 years ago

Point to Mother Earth!