The Wyoming Range Legacy Act signed into law last year put protections in place for over 1 million acres of hunting and recreation land in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. This was done so the area would not be developed for oil and gas drilling purposes; however, drilling leases granted prior to the Act are still viable. The Forest Service plans to release an analysis of drilling plans sometime this week.
A meeting was held in Jackson Hole last night, hosted by Citizens of the Wyoming Range. Spokesman Dan Smitherman says he hopes the Forest Service will seriously consider public comment gathered at the meeting.
Smitherman says that technology has advanced, which could be good news for limiting the impacts of the projects on environmentally-sensitive lands.
Smitherman indicates that selling or donating leases is not unprecedented – it’s happened recently along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. However, Plains Exploration and Production Company, which owns the leases, has indicated they intend to drill.