Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration is selling oil and gas leases in areas that threaten the sensitive habitat of big game species such as elk, mule deer, and pronghorn, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.
CAP’s analysis finds that over the past two years, nearly 1 in 5 oil and gas leases offered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Intermountain West was in areas identified as important migration corridors or wintering grounds for these animals.
This disturbing trend comes despite mounting evidence showing that oil and gas development poses harmful consequences for both wildlife and Western state economies. According to research in the journal Global Change Biology, in Wyoming, mule deer herds have declined by 40 percent over 15 years in areas where oil and gas extraction has boomed. Colorado officials have repeatedly asked the BLM to withdraw leases from key wildlife areas.
The $26 billion-a-year hunting economy depends on a healthy population of big game animals. In February 2018, the Trump Administration released Secretarial Order 3362, intended to support habitat for big game species, including by avoiding development in important migration corridors. As the U.S. Senate considers Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s nomination to become the agency’s permanent head, he should clarify whether the department is truly committed to protecting big game migration corridors and wintering grounds that are critical to hunters.
Read the analysis: “Trump Administration Is Selling Western Wildlife Corridors to Oil and Gas Industry” by Ryan Richards, Jenny Rowland-Shea, and Mary Ellen Kustin.
For more information, or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at email@example.com or 202-478-6327.