Protecting the Wyoming Range

Jun 10, 2014

EcoFlight recently flew over the Wyoming Range with citizens who have been working to permantly protect the area from oil and gas drilling.

The Wyoming Range campaign, thanks to an unprecedented show of local and national support, has protected much of the Wyoming Range from natural gas development.

The Trust for Public Lands, working on behalf of several local groups, including the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Citizens for the Wyoming Range and The Wilderness Society, reached a deal with Plains Exploration and Production in 2012 to sell leases for about 58,000 acres of land in the Upper Hoback Basin. The groups successfully raised the money by the end of 2012 to purchase the leases, which have since been relinquished back to the government and permanently retired.

At issue is the final resolution of the 44,700 acres of contested/suspended leases south of the former PXP leases, a large portion of which are adjacent to the PXP leases.  These leases also cover the Horse Creek and Beaver Creek drainages out of Merna, around Cottonwood Creek, along the McDougal Gap Road and also further south in the Range. The Forest Service voided these leases once in 2011 on the basis that they were not valid, but then withdrew that decision after appeals by energy companies. These leases are located in the middle of important elk camps, grazing allotments, fishing holes and camping areas.