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Fortification for WYO Fortification Creek

May 11, 2007

Fortification for Wyoming's Fortification Creek is the goal for several Wyoming hunting, ranching and conservation groups who want the Bureau of Land Management to take another look at plans to allow about 100 new coalbed methane wells in the area, which is home to a herd of rare prairie elk. Mark Windland with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation says studies of the elk show they steer clear of the development that has encircled their year-round range.

"That's basically going to squeeze them into a smaller and smaller area. They're going to end up, in a sense, eating themselves out of house and home."

The BLM says it's a small drilling plan that's not expected to harm the elk.

Liz Howell with the Wyoming Wilderness Association points out that the BLM is supposed to do environmental reviews on the impacts of development on wildlife, but they didn't for this project.

"We're within our rights as citizens to try to get them to follow the law. We feel that there should be one place left for our children to understand what the true landscape of the area is like."

Eight groups have filed with the BLM appeals board, the first step towards a lawsuit.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WY