Show up to support the Wyoming Range

By Lisa McGee

WE WILL ALL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ask questions and learn about a proposed drilling project in the Wyoming Range at three meetings next week hosted by the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, Bondurant, and Pinedale.

The meetings will be a chance to discuss Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production company’s proposal to develop an oil and gas field in the Hoback area of the Wyoming Range.

The company wants to drill 136 gas wells from 17 pads a few miles south of Bondurant, in a locally treasured hunting area.

Click here or on the image to the right for a printable document that has more information, including the meeting schedule.

The proposed project would be within the 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range protected by the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, which was signed into law in 2009. The drilling could still proceed, however, because the company purchased the oil and gas leases prior to the law’s passage (more on this below).

A grassroots group of hunters, anglers, business owners, and outdoor enthusiasts, Citizens for the Wyoming Range, has called the drilling proposal “heartbreaking,” and would like to see the company negotiate a lease buyout.

THE UPCOMING MEETINGS

Please consider attending one or more of the meetings listed below. Just by showing up you’ll let the Forest Service know that you care about the Wyoming Range. The bigger the turnout, the stronger the statement.

For more information, please visit the Citizens for the Wyoming Range website, which is full of great data, maps, and resources, including a two-page fact sheet that might be helpful if you’re looking for ideas about the types of questions you might raise and the types of air, water, and wildlife issues you might ask the Forest Service to address as it considers this proposal.

Meeting schedule (all times 7-9 p.m.):

Tuesday, January 18, in Jackson at the Snow King Resort.

Wednesday, January 19, in Bondurant at the Bondurant school auditorium.

Thursday, January 20, in Pinedale at the Sublette County Library.



MORE ON THE WYOMING RANGE LEGACY ACT

The Wyoming Range Legacy Act, which was signed into law in 2009, prevents future oil and gas leasing on 1.2 million acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. It does not, however, protect the forest from proposals to develop the 77,000 acres of oil and gas leases in the range that were issued prior to passage of the legislation.

The current 136-well proposal implicates some of these existing leases, which are owned by Plains Exploration & Production Company, or PXP.

For more information and to join the grassroots effort to protect the Upper Hoback Basin, please visit the Citizens for the Wyoming Range website.

Together we can work for a solution that benefits both residents and PXP.

As I’ve noted in previous blog posts, the Legacy Act envisions and would facilitate this best-case scenario. Companies like PXP can sell or donate existing leases—and because these leases fall within the boundary of the Legacy Act, they would be retired, and never leased again.

This is a solution that respects the financial interests of the company and would protect the backcountry and wildlife character of the forest that so many of us value.

For more information, feel free to contact me at lisa@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org or visit the Citizens for the Wyoming Range website: www.wyomingrange.org.

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