Trout Unlimited Praises Watson's Statement on Energy Development on Public Lands
Manager, Media Relations
3/30/2004 -- Washington -- National conservation organization Trout Unlimited (TU) today praised remarks made by Department of Interior official Rebecca Watson at the North American Fish and Wildlife Conference in Spokane, Wash.
Watson, the Assistant Secretary of Lands and Minerals, is responsible for oversight of the Bureau of Land Management. She said, “We will not sacrifice our fish and wildlife and other natural resources in a singly focused effort to satisfy this nation's energy demand.”
Watson continued, "Honest communication and understanding the challenges of multiple-use will further our efforts to be good stewards for ourselves and future generations.”
The Bureau of Land Management manages more land – 261 million surface acres, and 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate, mostly in Western states – than any other federal agency. Many anglers and hunters in Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado have expressed concern that the pace of energy development could compromise important fish and wildlife habitat, hunting and fishing opportunities, and water resources in the West. Hunters and anglers also are concerned that fish and wildlife are being viewed as an impediment or a constraint against energy production.
“Secretary Watson’s words are heartening,” said Chris Wood, TU Vice President for Conservation Programs. “Her statements indicate that field managers should continue to condition energy leases and permits to drill on the implementation of protective measures for fish, wildlife and water resources.”
Wood continued, “The multiple-use mission that drives BLM is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands. Energy development is an important part of that mission, and we agree that energy production cannot be allowed to diminish the productive capacity of the lands and waters that sustain us all.”
Mission: Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America