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Groups Petition BLM to Protect Fragile Wyoming Habitat From Oil and Gas Drilling


Drilling in the Douglas Core Area undermines the efforts of local residents and ranchers to protect sage grouse habitat. The male sage grouse shown in its mating display.

Today, conservation groups formally petitioned the federal government to halt all new wellpad and road construction inside the Douglas sage grouse Core Area of eastern Wyoming. Core Areas were originally established by the State of Wyoming to provide a safe haven for sage grouse and provide enough protection that Endangered Species Act listing would become unnecessary.

Current levels of human-caused disturbance already exceed 15 to 22 percent of the habitat in the Core Area, far above the five percent limit established in state and federal Core Area policies to provide habitat for imperiled sage grouse. Chesapeake Energy and the State of Wyoming recently announced plans for a massive push for more drilling inside the Core Area, while reducing protections for sage grouse.

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