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Keeping WYO Elk and Pronghorns Healthy - It's the "Lease" We Can Do

December 8, 2006

Cheyenne, WY - An oil and gas lease sale on U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the Upper Green River Valley didn't happen as quietly as usual this week. The sale was protested by several conservation and environmental groups, and people who live in the area, especially hunters. They're concerned that the development would impact big game migration zones.

Two lease sales were canceled after the Wyoming Game and Fish Department added its clout to the fight. Bruce Pendery with the Wyoming Outdoor Council says the BLM did the right thing in pulling two areas off the lease list this week.

"There's real potential that these big game species - deer and pronghorn antelope - might be cut off (migrating) between their winter and summer ranges."

Pendery believes the public is becoming more aware of the aggressive pace of oil and gas lease sales.

"They think the BLM just hasn't fully considered a lot of the important resources or important values that are at stake if the area is leased."

Several conservation and environmental groups organized the formal objection to the lease sale. Pendery says the parcels on the lease list are also prime sage grouse habitat.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WY