Losses in the Pinedale region are unacceptable and should outrage anyone who cares about the conscientious administration of fish, wildlife and public lands. Photo courtesy of Scott Hed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last month that the Department of the Interior adhered to federal law in its decision to vastly expand energy development on wildlife-rich public lands located on Wyoming’s Pinedale Anticline. This ruling follows a TRCP-led appeal of a court decision in its suit against the Department of the Interior over the government’s mishandling of energy development in Pinedale and the resulting impacts to wildlife.
The TRCP suit, filed in 2008, contended that the Bureau of Land Management failed to implement “adaptive environmental management” and mitigation activities as committed to in decision documents for the Pinedale Anticline natural gas project. The natural gas project area comprises crucial winter range for mule deer populations and prime sage grouse habitat. Mule deer numbers have declined by more than half in the project area in the decade since development began.
The court ruled that the BLM properly considered a reasonable range of alternatives even though it did not consider an alternative that would restore wildlife. In its ruling, the court also found that the agency fully considered the impact of the project on hunting in the region. The TRCP maintains that BLM decisions regarding development in the anticline consistently ignore current science about the impacts of natural gas projects on mule deer and a host of other species important to sportsmen.
“Essentially, federal law allows the BLM to permit expanded energy development even in the face of declining wildlife populations. If this is the law, then law needs to be changed,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “These losses are unacceptable to sportsmen and should outrage anyone who cares about the conscientious administration of fish, wildlife and public lands.”
The TRCP supports responsible public-lands energy development that is pursued in accordance with federal law and ensures citizens’ continued ability to access our lands and natural resources.
Tell the BLM you support its plan to undertake proper research before allowing risky development that could jeopardize fish and wildlife and our public lands heritage. Read More
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is criticizing the BLM for not implementing energy development reforms. Read More
Most people who’ve spent time afield can close their eyes and conjure up an image of the backcountry – be it a spruce forest, rolling prairie or a stand of scrub oak. It’s easy for hunters and anglers to understand the value of backcountry lands. Read More
Featuring the latest policy updates, staff adventures, top conservation leaders and much more, the TRCP Blog is a must read. Learn More