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Responsible Energy Development Symposium Looking for Fresh Ideas

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 By Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - WY, Contact
May 21, 2008

Jackson, WY – It's time for a fresh look at Wyoming's energy industry. Researchers, wildlife experts and sportsmen are gathering in Jackson today through Saturday to come up with new ideas on how to balance the state's profitable energy sector with other values, such as hunting, fishing and back-country recreation.

At the Responsible Energy Development Symposium at Jackson Lake Lodge, experts want to "pipe in" new ideas about energy development in Wyoming, as part of a new plan to incorporate other public land values with oil and gas.

Former USDA Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck is speaking tonight. He believes energy development is much more than just drilling a well; that the roads, pipelines, dust and traffic that come along with each project have left a heavy footprint, which creates a loss for everyone.

"Really, take a look at how few places there are that are even far enough away from a road where you might not hear a vehicle go by. These are our last remaining remote and wild places left in the country."

Dombeck adds that Wyoming and other energy-rich states are beginning to realize some areas will never be the same because of the oil and gas boom, even after expensive rehabilitation.

The conference goal is not to lambaste the energy industry, Dombeck adds, but to explore and pool ideas on how to ensure that other uses for the public's land are considered and preserved, even as oil and gas projects continue.

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