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First master leasing plan released in Wyoming wins praise from sportsmen

Hunters and anglers welcome assurance that energy development will be balanced with other land uses in fish- and wildlife-rich region


WASHINGTON – A roadmap for energy development in a fish- and wildlife-rich region of Wyoming was released today by the Bureau of Land Management, winning praise from a sportsmen’s coalition that has consistently advocated a management approach that balances a range of multiples uses on federal public lands.

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development commended the BLM’s first-ever master leasing plan – or MLP – as a strategy for enabling energy projects while simultaneously sustaining valuable fish and wildlife habitat, as well as outdoor opportunities, in lands overseen by the BLM’s Lander Field Office. The SFRED coalition calls MLPs a crucial element in the implementation of oil and gas leasing reforms unveiled by the Department of the Interior in 2010. They provide a comprehensive, landscape-level overview of an area’s resources and act as a link between the agency’s broader resource management plans, or RMPs, and its analyses of individual oil and gas projects.

“Master leasing plans provide a needed opportunity to prepare detailed, landscape-level land use plans for areas with significant conservation values as well as oil and gas reserves,” said Kate Zimmerman, public lands policy director of the National Wildlife Federation, an SFRED member. “The Beaver Rim holds valuable fish and wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation. It’s an ideal place for the careful `look before you lease’ approach provided by an MLP.” 

The Beaver Rim MLP forms part of the overarching Lander RMP affecting approximately 2.8 million acres. The MLP calls for phased leasing, detailed visual management requirements, nearly 30,000 acres of no-surface-occupancy and more than 121,000 acres of controlled surface use stipulations for oil and gas leasing. Lead SFRED partners, which include Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, as well as the NWF, reacted positively to these measures.  

“Management actions described in the MLP will help meet management objectives for the Beaver Rim while providing certainty for both sportsmen and industry interests,” said Corey Fisher, energy team lead for Trout Unlimited.

“We are pleased the Lander Field Office finalized its master leasing plan for Beaver Rim,” asserted Ed Arnett, director of the TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development, “and we commend the BLM overall for supporting the long-overdue implementation of the 2010 oil and gas leasing reforms. We now look forward to witnessing the on-the-ground benefits of the MLP – and to development that is balanced with other resources values so important to the American public.” 

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