Gordon disappointed BLM oil and gas lease sales rejected over sage grouse habitat concerns - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Gordon disappointed BLM oil and gas lease sales rejected over sage grouse habitat concerns

A greater sage grouse hen with her brood. (Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Gordon expressed disappointment on Thursday, May 28 regarding a federal judge’s decision to toss out three Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales.

Gordon’s office notes that the judge’s decision to toss out the sales was due to concerns over sage grouse habitat conservation concerns. The governor’s office say that the decision could cost Wyoming “tens of millions of dollars of revenue from lease sales conducted in 2018.”

“I am greatly disappointed by Chief Judge Morris’s decision to toss out BLM’s lease sales on account of the 2015 sage-grouse plans,” Gordon said in Thursday’s release. “Wyoming has led the way in sage-grouse conservation since 2007. We have spent over $200M on habitat conservation, research and other actions meant to maintain this iconic species. At the same time, our ranchers, oil and gas companies, miners, and other citizens and industries have helped develop protections that put the species first.”

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“This has led to considerable increases in cost and some opportunities lost for those partners. This court decision is nothing but a slap in the face to all the efforts that have been undertaken in good faith to protect the species.”

Gordon argued that Wyoming’s policies protect sage grouse from oil and gas development on public lands.

“The State has clearly defined restrictions on drilling that accompany habitat leases,” he said. “In what is already a very uncertain time in terms of revenue for Wyoming, Judge Morris’ decision spells major economic implications for our state. The sad thing here is this decision does nothing for the bird and it may undermine the voluntary and cooperative work Wyoming citizens have been willing to do to protect this species.”

“The decision to simply toss the leases is impractical, impulsive and ultimately prevents Wyoming from effectively managing the sage grouse and a vital part of our economy. This decision only adds uncertainty to a process that already works. I plan to consider legal options to remedy this manner.”