IBLA halts Wyoming Range Oil and Gas leasing
Temporary halt while it considers an appeal of the leasing decision
September 22, 2006
The U.S. Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) issued a decision on Thursday temporarily halting an April, 2006, oil and gas lease sale in the Wyoming Range while it considers an appeal of the leasing decision.
The decision affects 20,000 acres of land on the Bridger-Teton National Forest on the Big Piney Ranger District. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has leased more than 44,000 acres for natural gas development in the Wyoming Range since December, 2005. Leases sold from the December, 2005, and April, 2006, BLM lease sales have now been temporarily halted by the IBLA due to legal appeals.
A group of Wyoming outfitters, ranchers and business owners who live near the Wyoming Range formed a local grass-roots group in June, 2005, with the purpose of stopping further oil and gas leasing and drilling in the Wyoming Range mountains. The group, called ‘Citizens Protecting the Wyoming Range’, has worked to raise the profile of the wildlife, scenic and recreational values in that area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal also wrote a letter last June asking the BLM to withdraw 13 parcels in the Wyoming Range that were for sale in the June 6, 2006, lease sale due to overwhelming protests from Wyoming residents.
Governor Freudenthal offered the following statement Friday upon news of the IBLA’s stay leasing on the Wyoming Range: "I'm encouraged by the IBLA recognition of the need to have full compliance with regard to the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental protections prior to leasing. The argument that has been made by the state and by some others isn't that we ultimately oppose all leasing as much as it is that a fair review of the environmental consequences of leasing would result in some areas being leased and other areas not being leased. I think the IBLA decision goes a long way toward establishing that."
Wyoming Range Oil and Gas Leasing Temporarily Halted (Earthjustice, 9/22/06)
State formally protests Wyoming Range O&G Lease Sales (Pinedale Online, 6/1/06)