More than two dozen outdoor advocacy groups wrote the US Forest Service this week, asking it to remove almost 45,000 acres-worth of land in the Wyoming Range from consideration for oil and gas leases.
The organizations, including Trout Unlimited and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, said the land comprises vital habitat for mule deer, moose and cutthroat trout.
This follows an initiative in which the nonprofit Trust for Public Land raised private donations to buy 58,000 leases from Plains Exploration Company in the Bridger-Teton National Forest earlier this year and retired them.
Petroleum Association of Wyoming President Bruce Hinchey says these petitions from conservation groups have contributed to a drastic slowdown in leasing in the past five years, which is limiting the state’s economic clout.
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