No Extension of Public Comment Period on Wyoming Oil and Gas Leasing

by | Mar 13, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management published its final environmental report for the massive Moneta Divide energy leasing project, automatically triggering a 30-day public comment period. The agency subsequently denied requests from Indigenous and environmental groups to suspend the comment period for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. BLM’s preferred plan for Moneta Divide would allow two energy companies to build 4,250 new natural gas fracking wells across 327,000 acres (510 square miles) of mostly public lands in central Wyoming, with a projected influx of about 700 outside workers to a rural area with limited medical resources. The lease area is near the Wind River Indian Reservation, home to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, which both declared states of emergency in mid-March and closed nearly all tribal offices. Status: The BLM published its final environmental impact report on Feb. 21, 2020. Public comment period closed March 23.

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.