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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.
 


 

Americans won't support public-lands giveaway

Date: 
Tue, 01/03/2017

Our public lands are essential to healthy wildlife populations. Image: Judith Kohler

“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune." ~ President Theodore Roosevelt.

By Judith Kohler

The great American conservationist and leader who made that comment about our outdoors heritage would be outraged by elected officials who could look at our national public lands and decide they’re worthless.

Yet that’s the message the U.S. House has sent with a package of rules that includes one that will clear the way for handing over national public lands to states. The change would essentially codify a lie – that loss of our public lands wouldn’t cost the nation anything. 

 

Win for Wildlife: Master leasing plan proposed in southwest Colorado

Date: 
Thu, 10/06/2016

Colorado BLM has proposed a master leasing plan for parts of southwest Colorado. Image: Flickr-PDK Outdoor

DOLORES, Colo. -- After hearing from hunters, anglers, area residents and outdoor enthusiasts, the Colorado Bureau of Land Management has decided to pursue development of a master leasing plan for new oil and gas development on public lands in southwest Colorado.

The master leasing plan, or MLP, has been proposed in Montezuma and La Plata counties and includes the gateway area to Mesa Verde National Park and archeological sites.

“The Tres Rios area has valuable wildlife habitat that includes important migratory routes, winter range as well as calving and lambing areas. It deserves the additional management protections for these areas that an MLP can provide,” said Bill Dvorak, the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands organizer in Colorado.

 

Sportsmen to presidential hopefuls: Speak up for public lands

Date: 
Mon, 09/12/2016

Sportsmen's and outdoor organizations have asked the presidential candidates of all parties to publicly support public lands.

WASHINGTON – More than 40 sportsmen’s and outdoor organizations from across the country have asked all the presidential candidates to publicly state their support for our national public lands – the places we hunt, fish and recreate and that sustain our fish and wildlife populations.

The 40 organizations, representing millions of hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and other outdoors enthusiasts, have sent a letter earlier to Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein to ask them to publicly commit to “keeping public lands in public hands.”

“Conservation of our fish and wildlife, waterways and great landscapes is not a partisan issue: it’s an American issue.  ~ Collin O'Mara, the National Wildlife Federation president and CEO.

Read more about the organizations' statements.

Pledge support for public lands.

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.

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