For Immediate Release, January 20, 2021
Kelly Fuller, Western Watersheds Project, (928) 322-8449,
Cheyenne, Wyo.― Yesterday the Bureau of Land Management approved the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative (WPCI). The WPCI designates nearly 2,000 miles of corridors for new carbon dioxide, oil, and gas pipelines. About 1,100 miles cross public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“The last thing greater sage-grouse need is a bunch of pipelines fragmenting and destroying the sagebrush habitat they need to survive,” said Kelly Fuller, Energy and Mining Campaign Director at Western Watersheds Project. “Each new BLM decision chipping away more sagebrush habitat moves greater sage-grouse closer to population collapse and eventual extinction.”
The fast-tracked decision reduces the amount of environmental review new pipelines proposed in the corridors will receive, disadvantaging populations who were not able to weigh in during the corridor review.
“The Bureau of Land Management shouldn’t have fast-tracked new pipeline corridors while COVID-19 was raging,” said Fuller. “The public had much more urgent things to do than write pipeline comments during a pandemic. The Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior could have waited for the public without delaying a single pipeline, but instead chose to give blanket approval to corridors for massive networks of future pipelines.”
The Bureau of Land Management’s approval decision also amends Resource Management Plans for the Buffalo, Casper, Cody, Kemmerer, Lander, Pinedale, Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Worland Field Offices. Resource Management Plans contain the rules of the road that will govern future pipelines in the corridors.
“The process for siting these pipeline corridors was highly unfair to those who will be affected by new pipelines but weren’t allowed to help site them,” said Fuller. “The State of Wyoming met for years with government agencies, county commissions, and select private landowners, but didn’t invite the tribes whose homelands the pipelines would cross, nor all of the affected landowners. They weren’t invited to comment until after the main and alternative routes had already been selected.”
Western Watersheds Project protects and restores western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives, and legal advocacy.