'No Leasing' Is Only Way to Protect Our Wyoming Range Legacy

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016 

‘NO LEASING’ IS ONLY WAY TO PROTECT OUR WYOMING RANGE LEGACY
Wyoming residents say plan is chance for agency to make the right decision.

Contacts:
Mike Burd, Green River, (307) 871-6340
Dan Bailey, Bondurant, (562) 754-5005
Carl Bennett, Rock Springs, (307) 705-1744 

GREEN RIVER, WY (April 8, 2016)—Yesterday,  the U.S. Forest Service released a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement to determine once and for all the fate of proposed, controversial oil and gas drilling in the Wyoming Range.  Citizens for the Wyoming Range praised the agency for a preferred alternative (Alternative 1) that asks for no change of action and demands no leasing.

The Wyoming Range, which stretches over a 100 miles from Hoback Junction south of Jackson to southwest of Big Piney, supports traditional livelihoods of ranching, outfitting and tourism and provides habitat for the last, best strongholds of genetically pure Colorado River cutthroat trout.

The efforts of Citizens for the Wyoming Range and its partners to fight leasing on some 40,000 acres in the Bridger-Teton National Forest ultimately led to passage of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act in 2009, which prohibits any new leasing in this range. But the original decision to lease these national forest lands for development is still up in the air and still threatens these irreplaceable wildlife, hunting, fishing, and recreation lands.

“After 10 years of standing up for the Wyoming Range, citizens deserve a no leasing decision,” said Mike Burd, spokesman for Citizens for the Wyoming Range and trona miner who lives in Green River. “Anything short of that would be a huge mistake—a slap in the face to the thousands of people who have participated over the years, including all the local families, miners, oil and gas workers, Wyoming’s former governor, and dozens of local and state-level elected officials. Responsible energy development means some areas, like the Wyoming Range, should not be places for new oil and gas leasing.”

Today in Wyoming, outdoor recreation generates $4.5 billion in consumer spending, $1.4 billion in wages and salaries and more than 50,000 homegrown Wyoming jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

“The Wyoming Range is one of those special places we need to protect today to ensure we pass on this legacy to our kids and grandkids. We’re asking everyone who has ever supported the Wyoming Range to weigh in during the comment period and tell the Forest Service that only a no leasing decision will protect our outdoor heritage and lifestyle,” said Burd.

For the full Supplemental DEIS, click http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48737

Additional Voices from Citizens for the Wyoming Range:

“Let’s get the job done. The public has made it very clear that new oil and gas leasing in the Wyoming Range runs contrary to the other multiple uses in the range,” said Dan Bailey, a homeowner in Bondurant, whose family homesteaded in the Upper Hoback on the north end of the Wyoming Range. “We’ve had other great successes—like the Legacy Act and the lease buyout in the Noble Basin—because of overwhelming grassroots involvement. We must remain vigilant to make sure the Forest Service makes a no leasing decision here. A no leasing decision will help safeguard the Wyoming Range for generations to come for hunting, fishing, camping and recreating that we all cherish.”

“Local citizens are the best stewards of the Wyoming Range. To do our job right we have to ensure the Forest Service makes the right decision not to allow new oil and gas leasing in the range,” said Carl Bennett, a trona miner and hunter from Rock Springs and an advocate of the lease buyout in the Noble Basin in 2012.  “Elk, deer and antelope are on the decline. A no leasing decision will help protect our wildlife populations. We have to make our voices heard.”

“Citizens for the Wyoming Range supports oil and gas development, but not all places should be developed,” said Mike Burd, spokesman for Citizens for the Wyoming Range and trona miner who lives in Green River. “We in Wyoming are proud to help America meet its energy needs, but we are equally proud of our outdoor heritage and open spaces—places like the Wyoming Range where we hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors.”

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Citizens for the Wyoming Range is a broad coalition of Wyoming people – hunters, anglers, ranchers, business owners, recreational users, conservationists and others – that formed 10 years ago to protest the offering of these controversial oil and gas leases. Since then we helped secure passage of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act in 2009 and the $8.75 million purchase and retirement of 58,000 acres of oil and gas leases in the Wyoming Range’s Noble Basin. Today, we are still holding strong to make sure this long story has a happy ending.