The debate is heating up as the oil and gas trade associations and the Obama Administration continue to debate new rules to govern energy development on public lands proposed by the Department of Interior earlier this year. Wyoming Wildlife Federation Executive Director Walt Gasson feels that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s common-sense approach is needed to allow for both energy development and wildlife conservation.
Sheridan County Commissioner Terry Cram is also concerned about the effects of energy development on wildlife in northern Wyoming, where he worked as a game warden for nearly 30 years. Cram has seen how coal bed methane development and has changed the landscape there, and says energy needs should be balanced with protection of the state’s hunting heritage.
The Department of Interior says its new rules for oil and gas development are designed to restore balance and increase certainty for the industry. In recent years, the acreage offered for oil and gas development has far exceeded the oil and gas industry’s demand. Onshore in 2009, the Bureau of Land Management offered 3.8 million acres for oil and gas production, but industry bid on only 1.8 million acres.