Federal Court Ruling on Atlantic Rim a Setback for Responsible Management Efforts
Judge’s decision favors continued development of wildlife-rich area of Wyoming; TRCP maintains calls for responsible public-lands oil and gas drilling.
WASHINGTON – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today expressed concern over a federal judge’s rejection of claims brought by the TRCP against the Department of the Interior over its handling of a process that enabled accelerated energy development on wildlife-rich public lands in south-central Wyoming. The sportsmen’s group reaffirmed the need for responsible public-lands oil and gas development and is reviewing the district court decision to determine appropriate next steps.
The TRCP has consistently emphasized the need for a revised federal approach to public-lands management, using as evidence examples such as the Atlantic Rim, a previously undeveloped region prized by sportsmen for its abundant game populations and hunting opportunities. The TRCP suit, filed in August 2007 in U.S. District Court, cited violations of federal law following Bureau of Land Management approval of thousands of gas wells and related infrastructure in the area.
“The Atlantic Rim is a publicly accessible sportsmen’s paradise being impaired by the Interior Department’s development plan,” said TRCP Senior Vice President Tom Franklin. “The TRCP remains concerned for other natural landscapes that could be affected by this approach.
“The federal government is bound by commitments to conserve fish and wildlife resources and the hunting and fishing activities they support,” Franklin continued. “The TRCP maintains that this trust with the American people must be honored and remains resolved to seek justice.”
“The Atlantic Rim is being converted to mostly single use, making other uses of the area, including hunting, unsustainable in a manner directly at odds with federal law,” said Dr. Rollin Sparrowe, TRCP co-founder and interim board chair. “If the federal government can authorize energy development that impairs fish and wildlife populations and displaces traditional recreational and hunting opportunities for multiple decades, then the public land management process indeed requires revision.
“American sportsmen – and every citizen who enjoys our nation’s unique public lands and resources – have a stake in responsible management of the Atlantic Rim region,” Sparrowe concluded. “The TRCP will continue to serve the interests of fish, wildlife and the public by working to conserve these irreplaceable national landscapes.”
Read the Record of Decision and Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Rim Project Area.
The TRCP believes that to better balance the concerns of fish and wildlife in the face of accelerating energy development, federal land management agencies must follow the conservation tenets outlined in the FACTS for Fish and Wildlife.
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.