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MT Sportsmen Take Aim on Oil and Gas Development

May 25, 2007

Montana sportsmen are in Washington to support a series of legislative proposals designed to balance recreation, hunting and fishing with new oil and gas development on public lands. The Sportsmen's Public Lands Energy Agenda would ensure any new energy development would also protect fish, wildlife and water resources.

Hugo Tureck is a hunter who ranches near the Missouri Breaks. He is concerned that drilling leases have been awarded in areas that had been set aside for wildlife and clean water. He believes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should be required to carefully balance such decisions.

"The BLM should look at something more than just the oil or gas beneath the surface. They should give the surface some kind of equality as well."

Tureck says massive drilling in other states has been well-documented as the reason elk, deer, and sage grouse disappeared.

"Montanans are concerned that this energy development will take place as it has in Wyoming and Colorado, where it has destroyed a whole lot of habitat."

Tureck adds the BLM is under a directive to award as many leases as possible in the interest of increasing domestic oil and gas production.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MT