Pinedale, Wy – A small portion of the land opened for
possible oil and gas development in the Wyoming Range has been
placed off-limits to drilling -- at least for now.
The federal Interior Board of Land Appeals has issued a stay on
a lease covering about 12-hundred acres in Bridger-Teton National
Forest west of Pinedale. The decision yesterday (Monday) is a
victory for Governor Freudenthal and three environmental groups
opposed to oil and gas drilling in the Wyoming Range.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council, The Wilderness Society and the
Greater Yellowstone Coalition protested the lease. The groups say
the Bureau of Land management didn't adequately consider how the
drilling could affect air quality and the rare Canada lynx.
The state B-L-M rejected those claims, prompting the appeal to
the I-B-L-A. The stay issued by the I-B-L-A remains in effect while
the appeal is heard.
Lisa McGee is an attorney with the Wyoming Outdoor Council. She
says environmentalists are optimistic that the stay could set a
precedent against possible drilling on another 43-thousand acres in
the Wyoming Range.