Media Center: News
Dec. 15th, 2010

TRCP Appeals Court Decision on Wyoming Energy Project

Current science enables balanced management of two world-class resources – wildlife and natural gas – in the Pinedale Anticline. Photo courtesy of Douglass

The TRCP is appealing a court decision in its suit against the Department of the Interior over the government’s mishandling of a southwestern Wyoming energy development project and the resulting impacts to wildlife.

The TRCP suit, filed in U.S. District Court, contends that the BLM failed to implement “adaptive environmental management” and mitigation activities as committed to in decision documents for the Pinedale Anticline natural gas project in Sublette County, Wyo.

The region around Pinedale comprises crucial winter range for one of the state’s largest mule deer populations and has been identified by wildlife experts as one of the last, best habitats for sage grouse. A recently released federal report documents declines of 60 percent in mule deer numbers in the project area in the decade since development began.

The TRCP cited the report as a “prime example” of the federal government’s misguided approach to resource management and evidence of its failure to sustain mule deer numbers in the region.

“Current science, along with lessons learned from past actions, enable us to practice a balanced approach toward management of two world-class resources – wildlife and natural gas – located on the Pinedale Anticline,” said TRCP board member, Dr. Rollin Sparrowe, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and lifelong hunter who lives near the project site. “Yet the government’s failure to implement practices that conserve seasonal habitat for mule deer are furthering this population’s decline.

The TRCP supports responsible public-lands energy development that is pursued in accordance with federal law and ensures citizens’ continued ability to access our shared lands and natural resources.

“The needs of fish and wildlife – and the interests of sportsmen and other public lands users – remain at the mercy of the BLM and its subjective interpretation of its mission,” said Whit Fosburgh, TRCP president and CEO. “The nation’s public lands should be held and managed in trust for all Americans and for future generations to use and enjoy; the BLM’s failure to do this in Pinedale is setting a dangerous precedent for management of our shared natural resources.”

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