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Saving the Sagebrush Sea: An Imperiled Western Legacy

Nearly 350 plant and animal species depend on sagebrush habitat for their survival.
 


 

Industry group suit targets oil, gas reforms on public lands

By: 
Judith Kohler, Aug. 19, 2016

South Park is one of the areas where a master leasing plan will be used to take a close look at balancing energy development with important wildlife resources. Image: Suzanne O'Neill

The Western Energy Alliance wants to force the federal government to offer oil and gas leases on public lands, whether there’s demand by the industry or not. Whether it makes sense for American taxpayers or not.

And the Denver-based trade group wants the courts to force the agency that manages drilling on our public lands to roll back reforms that are intended to ensure the drilling is done responsibly.

The WEA has filed a lawsuit claiming the Bureau of Land Management has violated the Mineral Leasing Act by failing to hold quarterly oil and gas lease sales in oil- and gas-producing states. The lawsuit also targets reforms launched by the Interior Department in 2010 after several years of ramped-up leasing and drilling in the Rocky Mountain West.

“The Western Energy Alliance and its  industry supporters prefer the old ‘leap before you look’ approach that benefited no one but them and want to force BLM to sell leases without fully understanding the value of either the energy reserve or other public resources that might be placed at risk by development," says Kate Zimmerman, the National Wildlife Federation's public lands policy director.

BLM maps way forward in 21st Century

By: 
Judith Kohler, NWF

The BLM is considering changes to update its planning process. Image: USFWS-Mountain-Prairie Region

Fish, mule deer, pronghorn and greater sage-grouse don’t know – or care -- when they’ve crossed a state line or the boundary of the neighboring Bureau of Land Management field office.

The places they eat and sleep and where they roam or swim are determined by geography, centuries-old migration patterns and available food and water sources -- not arbitrary lines on a map or organizational chart.

Yet, those maps and charts often drive decisions on public-lands management, with huge and lasting impacts on fish and wildlife. The impacts ripple out, affecting hunters and anglers, wildlife watchers and everyone who appreciates the spectacular diversity of the natural world.

NWF, affiliates to candidates: Tell us where you stand on public lands

Date: 
Fri, 06/17/2016

NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara calls on candidates to stand up for public lands. Image: Aaron Kindle

ESTES PARK Colo. -- At their annual meeting, the National Wildlife Federation and its 50 state and territorial affiliates are speaking out in unison on public lands: Keep them in public hands. Affiliates from across the country are stressing about the importance of national public lands -- national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, coastlines, monuments and the open range land that maintains wildlife migration corridors.

During a June 16 news conference, O'Mara said if candidates for public office "don’t stand with our public lands, we’re not going to support them. We encourage every hunter and angler out there and everyone else who loves the outdoors to do the same."

Read more of his comments.

 

NWF opposes bills targeting national forest lands

Date: 
Wed, 06/15/2016

Two House bills would transfer millions of acres of national forest lands to states. Image: Judith Kohler

By Judith Kohler

WASHINGTON – The National Wildlife Federation has joined other conservation and sportsmen’s organizations in opposing two bills that would remove millions of acres of national forest land from the public domain, endangering fish and wildlife populations, water quality and the public’s ability to hunt, fish and recreate on these lands as it has for generations.

Both HR3560 and HR2316 would remove the public out of ownership and management decisions on large tracts of national forests, which are important sources of clean water and fish and wildlife habitat, said Mike Leahy, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager of public lands and sportsmen’s policy.

“Sportsmen and women and outdoor enthusiasts of all backgrounds have helped defeat several land-grab attempts in statehouses across the county and we will fight any land-giveaway schemes by Congress,” Leahy said. 

 

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