Although a 2009 law bans future energy leasing in the Wyoming Range, Plains Exploration and Production (PXP) wants to develop its existing natural gas leases in the area. Local hunters urged the Forest Service to cancel the leases or at least impose stringent development stipulations to protect wildlife. (HCN, 12/6/10)
The Forest Service's draft environmental analysis published Dec. 9 supported PXP's plan for 136 wells with only a few tweaks. The next day, two Wyoming sportsmen's groups announced an agreement with PXP: The company will voluntarily retire leases on 28,000 acres deeper inside the Range and allocate $6 million to protect habitat and local communities. In return, the groups promise to support the development during any future litigation. The public can comment on the project until March; then the Bridger-Teton National Forest will issue its final decision. Read more on our recent blog post, Compromise in the Wyoming Range.