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The “Lease” they Can Do – BLM MT Oil and Gas Sale Plans Protested

November 14, 2007

Helena, MT – Oil and gas companies are hoping to win big in Montana later this month, as about 250,000 acres of land goes up to bid for development. A local sportsmen's group is playing referee on the drilling plans. Ben Lamb of the Montana Wildlife Federation says the group is protesting about half the proposed drilling sites, because some of them are right on top of certified wildlife and recreation zones such as Beaverhead.

"Beaverhead River's a pretty important fishery in this state for sportsmen, and for outfitters, as well. So, we felt that those were probably ill-conceived."

Drilling is being proposed as part of the solution to lessen the United States' dependence on foreign oil and gas. Lamb acknowledges oil and gas independence is important, but he believes better long-term bets, for Montana and other states, would be to increase fuel efficiency for cars and trucks and encourage conservation.

"We understand that there is a need to become energy independent, but leasing out critical wildlife habitat for the drill bit is not the way to do it."

The protests were officially put on the record yesterday. The leases will be sold November 27th at the Billings office of the Bureau of Land Management.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MT