FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2012
Contact: John Spahr, Wyoming, 307-699-0548
Bonnie Rice, Montana, 406-582-8365 x1
Wyoming Range’s Upper Hoback Basin Gains Permanent Protection from Fracking
Houston-based Company Agrees to Buy-out of Drilling Leases
A deal announced today between the Trust for Public Lands and Plains Exploration and Petroleum Company (PXP) will permanently protect over 20,000 acres of public lands in the Wyoming Range that provide critical habitat for wildlife as well as outstanding recreation opportunities. As a result of the buy-out, PXP’s leases will be permanently retired as authorized under the 2009 Wyoming Range Legacy Act, granting long-lasting protection to the wildlife-rich Upper Hoback basin from drilling.
PXP was seeking authorization from the Bridger-Teton National Forest to drill up to 136 natural gas wells using the controversial and dangerous hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process. Local hunters, anglers and conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, have worked for years to stop the project and gain permanent protection for this important part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
In response John Spahr of the Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club issued the following statement.
“This is fantastic news for the Upper Hoback basin. Critical habitat for threatened Canada lynx as well as important wildlife corridors for moose, elk, mule deer and other species will be protected forever as a result of this buy-out. We have long said that the Upper Hoback is a place too special to drill, and we’re thrilled that it will be protected rather than turned into an industrial gas field. We’ve seen the outcome of this kind of natural gas extraction in Wyoming and its devastating effects on wildlife and scenic landscapes.
The Upper Hoback provides irreplaceable backcountry experiences. Hikers, wildlife watchers, hunters, anglers, and others all come to the Wyoming Range for the inspiration, solitude and challenging recreation opportunities—all of which were threatened by PXP’s plans.
Just 35 miles southeast of Jackson, the Upper Hoback is an integral part of the Greater Yellowstone region – the most intact temperate ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere. Drilling in the heart of this area would seriously impact the unique nature of this spectacular region and its wildlife. As a result of today’s deal, we can rest assured that the Upper Hoback will forever remain as pristine and wild as it is today.”