IBLA puts Wyoming gas lease on hold
Temporary injunction on a Hoback River area gas lease
July 14, 2006
In a small victory for those who prefer to not see more oil and gas leases or drilling on the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) in Wyoming, the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA is the highest court that governs decisions by land management agencies) issued a ruling that puts a gas lease that was sold last December in the Wyoming Range on hold.
The IBLA ruled that the Forest Service did not adequately analyze the impacts of oil and gas leasing in the Wyoming Range, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) relied on incomplete information when it issued the lease. The ruling puts the lease sale of a 1,280 parcel to Stanley Energy in the Hoback River area south of Bondurant on temporary hold.
The December oil and gas lease sale in the Wyoming Range was protested by numerous environmental groups including the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Trout Unlimited, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, and National Outdoor Leadership School. A nearby subdivision, the Hoback Ranches Service and Improvement District, also filed a protest.
The panel of judges ruled that the protests filed by the environmental groups likely have merit and the Forest Service and BLM will likely be required to do an updated analysis of the impacts of new proposed oil and natural gas leases on the environment and on recreational values in the Wyoming Range. The court issued the temporary injunction based on their opinion that the appellants are likely to win their case.
First Wyoming Range Lease Sale Placed on Hold, Stops Dec. Lease Sale in Popular Recreation Area (Wyoming Outdoor Council, www.wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org, 7/11/06)