FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2011
Bruce Pendery, Wyoming Outdoor Council, 435-752-2111; 435-760-6217
Wyoming Outdoor Council calls for Obama
to stand up to energy lobby
Administration is backing away from ‘wild lands’ policy
Photo by Jeff Vanuga
LANDER, Wyo. — The Obama administration is backing away from a plan to make a small percentage of undeveloped lands in the West eligible for protection of their wilderness qualities.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council is calling for the Obama administration to stand up to the energy lobby and instead go to bat for western hunters by protecting these lands.
“Frankly, we’d like to see president Obama show a little more determination here,” said Bruce Pendery of the Wyoming Outdoor Council. “The fact is Wyoming hunters would benefit from a new wild lands inventory on BLM lands in this state.”
Many Wyoming Outdoor Council members are hunters, Pendery said, and they — like nearly all Wyoming residents — would like to see a few places in Wyoming stay undeveloped.
The “wild lands” policy proposed by the Obama Administration, but now stymied by Congress, is one practical way this could have been accomplished.
“What happened was a few industry reps who believe companies should be able to drill every square inch of Wyoming got all worked up and they lobbied nonstop — and it appears some in Congress were more than ready to hear this pitch,” Pendery said.
But this energy industry position is not a mainstream one; and it’s not what Wyoming residents want, he said.
“We want a strong economy like we have — 2010 was our second biggest year in history in terms of mineral production,” he said. “And we also want to be able to hunt and fish. To take our kids camping on the weekend. And we hope some places in Wyoming can stay the way they are.”
There’s a small but vocal minority of lobbyists and politicians who always criticize land protection of any form, Pendery said. So it’s a shame that the Obama administration is backing away from the “wild lands” policy in response to these very predictable criticisms, he said.
“We’d rather hoped that president Obama would have recognized the benefits for hunters and for everybody who chooses to live in the West — and instead would have stuck to his guns and stood up to the energy lobby.”