Muley Fanatic Foundation Voices Concerns Over Greater Little Mountain Area Future

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For the past 20 years, a group of southwestern Wyoming hunters, anglers, oilfield workers, miners, and outdoorsmen and women have spent many long, tireless hours working to protect one of the state’s more beloved places, The Greater Little Mountain Area. Unfortunately, the years of working together with the Bureau of Land Management, a variety of oil and gas companies, along with local and state officials now sits in limbo due to a recent proposal of one of the largest oil and gas lease sales right in the heart of Little Mountain by the Bureau of Land Management.

One of the groups concerned with this matter is the Greater Little Mountain Coalition, whose work is to ensure that this area of Wyoming is managed in a way that is reflective of the values of the area communities in harmony with the conservation of the area’s wildlife habitats, with thoughtful oil and gas development.

The Coalition began working with the Bureau of Land Management In early 2000, as a way to limit the leasing and drilling that may threaten the areas prized big game herds and cold-water fisheries. These efforts, aided by a number of reforms were adopted by the BLM in 2010 to further encourage a community-driven solution to resolving oil and gas conflicts on nearby public lands. This resulted in a widely-supported proposal that, in turn, provided a safeguard for much of Little Mountain’s big game habitat and fisheries, while still allowing for responsible development.

In a statement sent to Wyo4News, Muley Fanatics Director Joshua Coursey said “The Interior Department canceled those reforms, and threw into doubt whether the BLM would continue to honor the voices of local communities and the Coalition in developing a well-rounded, sustainable solution for Little Mountain. Those concerns became even more pronounced when the BLM proposed the leasing – scheduled for this December 2018 – of more than 700,000 acres of public lands in and around Rock Springs, including roughly 173,000 acres in the Greater Little Mountain Area. If the BLM follows through on this proposed lease sale, that would spell the end of the collaborative effort around Little Mountain and endanger the big game herds and trout streams that are so beloved here in Wyoming.”

Coursey went on to say, “The Coalitions greatest concern is that if the BLM were to follow through on its proposal, it would be the end of a collaborative effort around Little Mountain and endanger the many big game herds and trout streams that many Wyoming residents enjoy.”

According to Coursey, “Over the past several weeks, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke has delayed similar lease sales in states such as Montana and New Mexico because of the concerns of local communities. Many Greater Little Mountain hunters, anglers, and other Wyomingites are voicing similar concerns.” The Coalition has urged Secretary Zinke to defer the December 2018 lease in the Greater Little Mountain Area and the Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration corridor until the Resource Management Plan has been finalized.

On March 20th, 2018 the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners sent a letter to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead expressing their concerns over the recent BLM decision, copies of the letter were also sent to Wyoming Senators Barrasso and Enzi, Representative Liz Cheney and Interior Secretary Zinke.

The public comment period for fourth quarter BLM oil and gas leases will open in late August. Visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/energy-and-minerals/oil-and-gas/leasing/regional-lease-sales/wyoming to learn more about oil and gas lease sales in Wyoming.