BTNF offers Wyoming Range gas lease parcels
38 lease parcels covering 44,600 acres of forest land
April 26, 2005
According to a news release Tuesday, Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton has identified 38 oil and gas lease parcels in the Wyoming Range for forwarding to the Bureau of Land Management for public auction. This implements a portion of previous lease decisions that have been delayed since the early 1990ís.
The identified parcels cover about 44,600 acres of forest lands adjacent to existing minerals developments and 90 percent of the total acreage is within areas currently set aside in the forest plan for commodity resource development. Between March and August of 2004, the Forest implemented past leasing decisions by submitting a total of 99 parcels covering 175,000 acres to the BLM. In September of that year, the agency requested BLM to withhold these parcels.
The Forest Service delayed implementation of the leasing decision in 2004 based on concerns expressed by Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, and members of the public. The Forest Service offered to take another look at leasing options on the Bridger-Teton before going forward. The result is a 75 percent reduction in acres being sent to BLM for auction.
"My staff and I have done our best to meet our responsibility to address the Bridger-Teton leasing request backlog" said Hamilton. "We have fulfilled the Governorís request to apply the carpenterís rule of measure twice and cut once. We are committed to maintaining a strong working relationship with the State of Wyoming in the responsible development of its energy resources."
Criteria used by the forest to determine which acres will be forwarded to BLM ensured implementation did not affect any roadless characteristics; adhered to Bridger-Teton Forest Plan objectives; and allowed leasing around existing, roaded developments.
"We heard a wide range of ideas and opinions concerning leasing on this forest from all of our constituencies and stakeholders" Hamilton said. "Our task was to implement the forest plan leasing decision in a way that reflected their concerns. We adhered to guidance in the Bridger-Teton Land and Resource Management Plan, the Energy Security Act of 1980, the 2001 Forest Service Energy Implementation Plan and other federal guidance."