CASPER — Wyoming’s congressional delegation on Thursday slammed a federal decision blocking oil and gas drilling on 500 square miles of Wyoming land pending a climate change impact analysis.
The stay on drilling is the result of a lawsuit filed by the environmental group Wildearth Guardians, which protested the Obama-era Bureau of Land Management’s failure to consider the climate cost of leasing federal land for oil and gas drilling.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled in favor of Wildearth regarding 300,000 acres in Wyoming leased in 2015 and 2016. The suit was originally intended to force the Obama administration to consider the cumulative nature of climate change in developing federal minerals. Now, conservation groups tangled in a number of battles with the Trump administration over its energy dominance agenda see the decision as a precedent they hope can hobble what they argue is irresponsible development of fossil fuels in the West.
Wyoming politicians disagreed.
Sen. Mike Enzi called the decision “short-sighted” and said it was a manipulation of the judicial system.
By Heather Richards
Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange