Environmental groups appeal BLM approval of Wyoming methane wells | PostIndependent.com

Environmental groups appeal BLM approval of Wyoming methane wells

The Associated Press
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) ” Three separate coalitions of conservation groups have appealed the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of up to 1,800 coal-bed methane wells and 200 conventional oil and gas wells in the Atlantic Rim area in southern Wyoming.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of organizations working to preserve hunting and fishing areas, announced Wednesday it had appealed the action to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.

“The BLM is officially telling hunters that wildlife, hunting and outfitting will have to go elsewhere for at least a generation,” said TRCP Energy Initiative Manager Steve Belinda, of Boulder. “… It looks like wildlife and the needs of sportsmen and -women are again playing second fiddle to extraction at any cost.”

Later Wednesday, a coalition including the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Wyoming Wilderness Association, the Western Watersheds Project, the Colorado Environmental Coalition, the Center for Native Ecosystems and The Wilderness Society filed a similar appeal. The Wyoming Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation announced their appeals Wednesday evening.

“The Bureau of Land Management has left us with no other choice,” said Joy Owen, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation’s field director.

“The BLM is pushing ahead with oil and gas development in the wildlife-rich Atlantic Rim area with little consideration to protecting these resources that are treasured by hunters and other outdoors people,” said Bruce Pendery of the Wyoming Outdoor Council. “Our appeal is an attempt to get BLM to do it right rather than pushing ahead with drilling no matter what the costs.”

The wells approved by the BLM are in addition to 2,780 conventional gas wells previously approved by the agency in south-central Wyoming. Another 10,190 wells are pending approval.

The Atlantic Rim project, located south of Rawlins, is expected to yield some 1.35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to heat nearly 20 million homes for a year, according to the BLM.

Companies involved in the production include Anadarko Exploration Co., Double Eagle Petroleum and Mining Co. and Warren Resources Inc.

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