Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wyoming Range Legacy Act Celebration

Kate Small McMorrow Wright of Wyoming Conservation Voters passes on this news release from Public News Service:

Lander, Wyo. -- A celebration of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act has turned into a bigger party than planned, with announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that oil and gas leases on about 24,000 acres on the Bridger-Teton National Forest are being rescinded. Other leases may yet be canceled, while some are being eyed for donations or voluntary retirement.

Lisa McGee, national forests and parks director with the Wyoming Outdoor Council, says the BLM did the right thing, because development would have been too damaging to the area, and would not likely have resulted in much product. "We think it's a really great first step, and an indication that the rest of them will also be resolved."

McGee says there are still leases on thousands of acres on the range that need to be sorted out, and there are options for companies that hold the undeveloped leases."Those might include buyout, or trade, or donation if the company wanted to, so that area also remains protected."

The Wyoming Range Legacy Act bans future industrial development on most of the range, and ranchers, sportsmen, politicians, outfitters and conservation groups gathered last weekend to toast passage of the act.Opponents of cancellation of the leases say making oil and gas drilling off limits is wrong because the energy resources are needed for domestic supply.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/10241-1

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