BLM Oil and Gas Leases Restricting Millions More Acres to Public Access
Written by Andrew-Rossi on May 5, 2020
It’s a battle between two foundations parts Wyoming life.
A recently published report suggests that the tidal wave of oil and gas leases in the Bureau of Land Management is limiting your access to hunting across the entire West. The report, published by the National Wildlife Federation, says prime fishing and hunting territory is being opened up for leases, and while many of those might not lead to an active drill or mine, it can nonetheless restrict or entirely prevent public access to public lands.
It’s the numbers that are the most compelling factors. Hunting generates $27 billion in consumer spending every year, employs 438,000 people across the country, and contributes $6.5 billion to the outdoor recreation economy nationally. In some small communities, it can account for half of their yearly income. Much of this occurs on public lands controlled by the BLM and other entities. On the other hand, in 2017 alone more than 11 million acres of land were offered for lease. By the end of 2017, nearly 26 million acres of federal land were under lease for oil and gas development but less than half were actually producing while still fully or partially closed off to the public. Currently, 90% of lands managed by the BLM are open to oil & gas development.
The implications for local and national industries are real.
The National Wildlife Federation isn’t advocating for the annihilation of the extractive industry. They want responsible development – companies only working where they have active intent to extract and doing so without further endangering the herds and birds already facing conservation crises. They say that hunters are obligated to protect these lands and resources, now more than ever.