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Fed Report Challenges WYO Towns on Local Control?

June 5, 2008

Cheyenne, WY - It's a new record, 44 million acres: that's how much public land in Wyoming has been leased for oil and gas drilling under the push to develop domestic supplies. However, it turns out that the rush to drill is going faster than even the oil and gas companies can keep up with, according to a new report that shows millions of leased acres are sitting idle.

Dave Alberswerth with The Wilderness Society co-authored the report, and says that, at the same time, the push to lease more land continues and one recent government report blames local communities in Wyoming for "hindering" development because they want guarantees that their other natural resources won't be contaminated.

"The feds are critical of local government entities for wanting to protect their water supplies."

Alberswerth believes there's a lot of misinformation coming from the federal government, trying to make the public believe that oil and gas development is being held up by local governments, along with groups concerned about clean air, water and land.

"They have falsely asserted that large amounts of oil and gas are off-limits to development, when, in fact, they are available for leasing and development."

Alberswerth says that, with only a quarter of leased lands under development, there's time to take a break so companies can catch up, and assessments on supply and the role of alternative energy can be reviewed. Critics of The Wilderness Society report argue that the push to drill matches increased demand.

The full report is available on the The Wilderness Society Web site at
www.wilderness.org.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - WY