Date: Fri, 03/19/2010 Contact: Erin Mooney, National Press Secretary (571) 331-7970 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Trout Unlimited Supports Removal of Energy Leases from BLM Auction Over 4,300 acres in Monongahela National Forest pulled from sale. Arlington, Va.--Trout Unlimited (TU) supports the decision by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest from its planned oil and gas lease auction this week. Approximately 4,395 acres of the Monongahela National Forest were slated for auction in Pendleton and Randolph counties but were removed from the March 18 sale. TU protested the lease of these parcels and filed official comments with BLM earlier this month stating its opposition. "The BLM obviously recognized TU's concerns about protecting irreplaceable trout streams and highly valued public lands and watersheds," said Bryan Moore, TU's Vice President of Volunteer Operations and Watersheds. "The lack of consideration for these resources was clear through the lease proposal. TU's participation should send a clear message that we will take the steps necessary to protect the trout streams on public lands and the native brook trout populations that live there." TU's West Virginia council recently voted in favor of a moratorium on natural gas leasing in the national forest because of the potential for irreparable habitat destruction to rivers, streams and other fish and wildlife habitat. TU, as a national organization, has opposed gas drilling in the Monongahela and supports the West Virginia council position. The Monongahela National Forest encompasses over 900,000 acres and is located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia. Trout Unlimited contends that the BLM and U.S. Forest Service did not complete a thorough analysis of the stream impacts, land use and groundwater impacts that can occur from drilling within the proposed parcels in the Monongahela. Trout Unlimited is a private, nonprofit organization with more than 140,000 members who are dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.