Monday, December 1, 2008

Protests Lead Feds to Pull Some Leases from Wyoming Lands

Federal regulators pull Wyoming leases from sale
By BOB MOEN , 12.01.08, 06:06 PM EST

The Bureau of Land Management has pulled about 16,000 acres in the Little Mountain area south of Rock Springs from its regular oil and gas lease sale.

The BLM will offer 184 parcels encompassing 197,275 acres statewide at Tuesday's lease sale in Cheyenne. It had been considering more than 247,000 acres.

But it received more than 125 protests from conservationists, hunters and others against including land in the Little Mountain area, a popular hunting and recreation area near Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Gov. Dave Freudenthal and the state Game and Fish Department also voiced disapproval for selling leases in the area.

BLM spokeswoman Lorraine Keith said the BLM will review the Little Mountain parcels further to see if the protests have merit.

Parcels in the area could be considered for a future BLM oil and gas sale, Keith said.

Bruce Pendery, public lands director for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, said the BLM made the right decision on the Little Mountain leases.

"We just really don't feel that leasing in that area is appropriate because of the very high wildlife values and the popularity of the area for hunting and among outdoorsmen," Pendery said.

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