Steven Brutger (307) 438-2596
Cathy Purves (307) 332-6700
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sportsmen confident that USFS will make a sound Wyoming Range decision
Lander, Wyo. - Sportsmen and women in Wyoming reacted to Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Jacque Buchanan's withdrawal of a record of decision not to authorize 44,720 acres in the Wyoming Range for oil and gas development with guarded optimism on Thursday. While disappointed that the January 25, 2011 decision has been withdrawn in light of appeals, hunters and anglers across the board expressed their belief that after a thorough review of the decision, sound science will support the original decision to conserve the area's fish, wildlife, and hunting and angling values.
"This means that there will be another environmental review of these 44,720 acres of land to address the concerns brought in the appeal," said Steven Brutger, Trout Unlimited's Wyoming Energy Coordinator. "We're confident that additional review will further reinforce what the Forest Service learned during their initial review, that energy development in this area, where local residents have hunted, fished, camped and horsepacked for generations, will forever diminish the outdoor opportunities found there. Simply put, the Wyoming Range is much more valuable for its habitat and fish and game than for its energy reserves."
In a press release, the Bridger-Teton forest office stated that their environmental analysis did not thoroughly explain the basis for several conclusions regarding the potential effects of oil and gas development. Withdrawing the record of decision allows time for forest managers to do so.
"We actually encourage this process," said TU's Science and Technical officer, Cathy Purves, a Wyoming resident who is familiar with the unique habitat of the Wyoming Range. "We strive to make all our decisions based on sound science, and the science tells us that the nominal return from the estimated 27 to 181 wells that could be developed on this acreage is far outweighed by the value this landscape contributes to Wyoming's sporting heritage. And with nearly 40,000 producing wells in the state, preserving this area will have no impact on oil and gas production in Wyoming, or the U.S."
Trout Unlimited is a private, non-profit organization with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Colorado Trout Unlimited is the organization's Colorado state council and has more than 9,000 members statewide.