I’m all about and for public lands. Not a bigger advocate in the world then me. But, I’m also common sense enough to realize that responsible resource management is either going to be part of a public managed, government owned land base or, the land will be sold to those private interests. You keep nudgi g up to the line and the government will sell these lands. They are a dead weight that is gonna produce revenue one way or the other. I ain’t being mean but it’s time common sense took hold in this debate.
I don't know much about the mining, but I've personally seen quite a bit of drilling in Wyoming, and I haven't seen any adverse impact to the deer and antelope. It's ugly and messy while the drilling is going on, but most of the well sites are downsized and made to kind of blend in with the landscape after the fact. Oilfield traffic is not desirable while you're hunting, but I haven't seen that adversely affect the animals either. I'm not an elk hunter, and I realize that the areas in question may be elk habitat, and elk are a different animal as far as intrusion goes. Nevertheless, energy has to come from somewhere, and we not gonna get it in the near future unless it comes out of the ground.
You better step back and take a look at the big picture for western land conservation. Wilderness, wilderness study areas, national monuments and parks stop multi-use revenue generation from these lands.
The more land gets put aside for preservation, the more public lands we will lose in the long run.
Most new mining permits in the US will take at least 10 years and probably more like 20 before they will ever break ground. They have to go thru the ringer with government and public review of every minute aspect of the planned operation over and over again to ensure that it is economically and environmentally sustainable.
Oil and gas drilling has come a long way. They have developed technologies where they can directionally drill multiple holes in multiple directions into the oil and gas bearing formations from very long distances - reducing the number of drilling areas required. After drilling, they are required to clean up the areas and reclaim the platforms to match the vegetation of the surrounding areas.
Logging and grazing provide lower returns from a tax standpoint, but do provide jobs for people utilizing the land. These industries are also heavily regulated on federal lands to prevent permanent damage.
Taxation on these industries and the employees that work in them are huge and represent one of the largest tax bases for the local rural areas where they are doing this work.
Preservationist policy - wilderness, national monuments, and national parks cut that land out of any potential revenue generation to the local areas and keeps them locals from getting any benefit from new economic growth for schools, roads, jobs, etc.
Hunting and fishing provide very little economic benefit to many of these rural areas in comparison to the above industries. Hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, tree huggers and other lookie loo's provide even less because they do not even purchase any licenses to generate revenue to offset the losses.
If you own something that is regulated so that you can not make any money off of it, and it is costing you significant money to hold how long will you keep it?
The oilfield boom in Wyoming and elsewhere has absolutely effected wildlife numbers, it shouldn't take much searching the net to find the data.
These jobs are often very boom and bust, I know many people that chased the quick buck in the oilfields in North Dakota and elsewhere that have moved on or are doing something else mainly because so much of the work has dried up.
I get multiple use, but not at the cost of forever changing an area for the worse. Outdoor recreation is big business, especially in the west and a huge part of that is due to the public land we have
just sayin. oz
It is much harder to clean up mines when the companies have mined out the ore body and left like what was occurring from the 1800's up until the mid 1970's.
One of the bigger issues in Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona with respect to impacting wildlife is the huge overpopulation of "wild" horses. This is another area that has been regulated as "Preservationist" with respect to the horses and the populations have far exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. In the wild horse areas, the plant and wildlife diversity has been decimated across many thousands of acres. If you want to know why the sage grouse numbers are falling across the west - here is a prime candidate. Significantly more impact than mining or oil and gas. All to protect a non-native species at all costs.
I've reached the age and condition where hunting deep in wilderness isn't reasonable without a packer. I'm okay with that. I hate to see us able to drive to every ridge.
One thing to remember is that what Zinke is doing is not intended to help the average man. Once land gets opened or sold it's hard to get it back. Actually, virtually impossible. What kind of world to we want to leave our kids? Even though much or our wilderness is ground I'll probably never walk on, I believe we should not reduce it.
Instead we should work on using eminent domain to force access through private land to the public land we own.
There is an interesting read at the link about how renewable energy seems to now being bid cheaper than coal fire power plants. Coal may be a thing of the past. This might be really bad news for towns like Craig, CO and Gillette Wy.
Most recent mining operations in the US that are on public lands have been pushed to return lands used for mining to BLM or USFS upon closure and final reclamation as part of their permit. Also, they are typically severely limited on the overall footprint that they are allowed to use for the operations.
One thing to ask is if there are actually any mineral or oil resources in those Wilderness Study Areas. Like I said earlier, all the easy stuff has already been mined or drilled. There may be little or nothing worth going after in those areas.
I also firmly agree that we need to push for access to our public lands across the west. There are far too many places that we have been shut out of by private land owners - even corridors that were public access across private lands for many years. That is a very different issue.