Oil and gas companies doing business here in the West have sparred quite a bit with the Obama Administration since it took office in 2009… the now tabled “Wild Lands” policy is just one of the heated issues that comes to mind.
The Interior Department's "wild lands" order had made millions of acres of undeveloped land mainly in the west eligible for federal wilderness protection.
Colorado environmental groups are sharply criticizing a move by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that rescinds a sweeping order that could have made millions of acres of land across the West eligible for wilderness protection. But the Interior Department's reversal follows mounting criticism from oil and gas officials and some members of Congress.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's "Wild Lands" secretarial order has been praised by conservationists and Democrats, and criticized by the oil and gas industry and many Republicans.
Credit Kirk Siegler
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the Obama Administration is close to announcing how it will move forward with a controversial “Wild Lands” policy now that Congress has stripped funding for its implementation for this year.
South Shale Ridge in western Colorado is prized for scenery, and the natural gas that lies beneath it.
Credit Photo by Kirk Siegler
Wilderness conservation took a hit as part of this year’s federal budget compromise. A rider slipped into the bill at the last minute has put millions of acres of land back on the table for oil and gas drilling. One of those places is South Shale Ridge in western Colorado. The area is not federally protected wilderness. So the conservation-minded Interior Department had floated a different term for places like it, “wild lands.” But that definition is now up in the air.