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Some Jackson Residents Complain About "Bait and Switch"

August 13, 2007

A plan to drill just a few gas test wells in the Bridger Teton National Forest has raised some hackles in Jackson, where some residents are worried it would be the first step in making the landscape look like any other heavily drilled area in Wyoming. Hoback Ranches property owner Heather Mathews in Jackson says it's such an unwelcome idea that even the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce is against it.

"The pictures that we see of the Anticline and the Jonah Field are things that we can start seeing in our forests. And it's something that's really close to the hearts of everyone in Jackson."

Mathews believes the proposal shouldn't be dismissed as just "exploratory." She says it's likely the start of big drilling plans. The Texas drilling company interested in the project is promoting it as an economic benefit to the region.

Mathews notes the drilling plans don't take into account the impact on ecosystems, and the project would run right through a roadless area.

"Coming up to the Hoback Basin, that's really creeping up further towards Jackson and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It is just so vital for our wildlife."

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WY