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How Oil & Gas Drilling on Public Lands Threatens Habitat—and Hunting

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Publication Date: May 2007

Publisher(s): Environmental Working Group

Author(s): Dusty Horwitt; Chris Campbell; Sean Gray

Topic: Energy (Petroleum industry)
Environment (Animals)

Keywords: oil; gas; west


Drill rigs are invading Western wildlife habitat and hunters are being squeezed out. In just five Rocky Mountain states, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, the federal government has currently leased almost 27 million acres of habitat for four key game species for oil and gas drilling. Drilling on these lands has doubled this decade with an average of 2,053 wells drilled per year between 2001 and 2006 compared to only 1,036 wells drilled per year between 1993 and 2000.

Wyoming saw the greatest increase in drilling on game habitat for the four species, antelope, elk, mule deer and sage grouse, with 884 wells drilled per year between 2001 and 2006, compared to 434 per year between 1993 and 2000. Overall, Wyoming now has the most oil and gas wells on game habitat with 34,808 wells drilled.


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