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Fishing PhotoDuring the past decade, an unprecedented energy boom has transformed huge tracts of the West’s cherished public lands. Much of this development has happened in irreplaceable wildlife habitat – special places where families have hunted and fished for generations. Unfortunately, because some development ispoorly planned, America’s outdoor legacy is at risk.

Between 2000 and 2008, the number of permits to develop oil and gas tripled, and an estimated 126,000 new wells are planned for the next 20 years. Another 26 million acres – an area larger than Ohio – are already leased for development.

Sportsmen appreciate how important energy is to our country. But oil and gas drilling that pays little regard to fish, wildlife and water resources is unacceptable.

Fortunately, many of the worst impacts of energy development can be avoided with careful planning. That’s why hunters and anglers created the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development coalition – and why we’re highlighting 10 irreplaceable fish and wildlife habitats at risk from irresponsible drilling.

This overview explains what makes these habitats special and how they are at risk. The full report recommends ways to develop energy without losing recreational opportunities or the $7 billion that hunting and fishing contribute to the Western economy annually. The report also features testimonials from outfitters, guides and small-business owners who depend on these public lands and who want future generations to enjoy them too.

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