Thursday, March 17, 2011

Groups ask BLM to reconsider Wyoming drilling project - Secretarial wild lands order invoked

Five groups opposed to a drilling project east of Cody are asking the Bureau of Land Management to take a second look at preserving the landscape for its wilderness qualities. Led by the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the groups filed a request last week, arguing that the Rocktober Unit project, proposed by the Bill Barrett Corp. out of Denver, will impair the wilderness value of the land now leased for the project. The groups are asking the BLM to conduct a new state review that weighs the value of the area as wildlands, and to require the energy company to take steps to reduce its impacts on the land while drilling. "The primary issue we're concerned about relates to the impact on lands with wilderness qualities," said Bruce Pendery, a staff attorney with the Wyoming Outdoor Council. "The BLM has identified two areas as potential wildlands that would be impacted by this project." The two areas include Whistle Creek and the North YU Bench. At 37,000 and 25,000 acres, respectively, the BLM has identified the landscapes as potential wildlands because of their size, natural state and opportunities for solitude...more

The "wilderness qualities" and "a new state review" are right out the Salazar's Secretarial Order 3310.

If there is any doubt, one of the appellants says, "In this review, we claim that the plan to allow impairment of land with wilderness values is out of compliance with the BLM's new wildlands policy."

This will be interesting to watch because the BLM says:
 "Generally, if we made a decision prior to the wildlands ruling, then it stands free of that executive order," Gorny said, "If a decision had not been final, then that executive order must be considered."

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