Protect Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin from oil and gas drilling

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Originally Posted: 5 September 2011

Protect Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin from oil and gas drilling

FROM Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

ACTION

Tell officials at the BLM to protect the Basin’s most sensitive lands from rampant industrial development. The Bighorn Basin is home to critical habitat for a wide range of species including grizzly bears, gray wolves, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, greater sage grouse, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. We are not creating any more wildlands in our country, and we should not rush to allow energy development to destroy those few we have left. Please preserve our existing wildlands and the vital wildlife habitat they provide.

Sign an online petition:
https://secure.nrdconline.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2397&autologin=true&JServSessionIdr004=cylutt7no2.app341a

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Caleb Hiner, RMP Project Manager
Bureau of Land Management
1625 West Pine St.
Pinedale, WY 82941
phone (307) 775-6256
fax (307) 775-6129

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Please protect the wildlands and wildlife of the Bighorn Basin as well as the health of nearby communities in any new management plan. The Bighorn Basin is home to critical habitat for a wide range of species including grizzly bears, gray wolves, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, greater sage grouse, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Your preferred alternative does not sufficiently protect their vital habitat. When there are millions of acres at stake, it is important that your agency gets it right. I urge you to go back to the drawing board and develop a proposal that provides better protections for lands identified by the BLM as having wilderness characteristics, and proposed by local citizens for wilderness protection, including the proposed additions to McCullough Peaks, Bobcat Draw, and Red Butte.

In addition, the BLM should close these areas to motorized vehicle use, stipulate no surface disturbance in any sage grouse core areas, and maintain all seasonal restrictions for wildlife protection, with no waivers. Finally, in order to protect important wolf, grizzly bear, and big game habitat I urge you to incorporate the land and wildlife protections from Alternative B into your final plan and close the Absaroka Front Management Area to future oil and gas leasing. The Absaroka Front is the only occupied grizzly bear habitat within the Bighorn Basin and provides winter range for big game species that migrate from as far away as Yellowstone National Park. It is truly a world-class landscape.

With increasing data on the harms to both human health and the environment from aggressive oil and gas development, the BLM should ensure that the Bighorn Basin plan will require: full geologic, seismic, and hydrologic mapping of areas proposed for oil and gas exploration and development; baseline testing and ongoing monitoring of air and water quality; thorough assessment of potential human health impacts of oil and gas development in the area and options for mitigation where possible; and site specific requirements for protecting wildlife and their habitat, cultural resources such as archeological sites, local communities and human health.

We are not creating any more wildlands in our country, and we should not rush to allow energy development to destroy those few we have left. Please preserve our existing wildlands and the vital wildlife habitat they provide.


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