Doing Energy Right

Mule deer on Colorado's Roan Plateau.
John Gale
There is a way to balance America’s energy needs while also protecting our best and wildest lands. That’s called “doing energy right.”

Doing energy right means ensuring that energy development is balanced with other important uses of our wild lands, including conservation and recreation. Currently 90 percent of Bureau of Land Management lands are open to development leaving little room forconservation. Restoring balance is critical to doing it right.

Guiding energy

There are places that oil and gas drilling is acceptable on federal lands—but there are also many places that are too wild to drill. The Wilderness Society works with the BLM, local stakeholders and others to guide energy development away from sensitive lands—keeping the well pads, pipelines and roads away from wilderness quality places.

Leasing federal lands can be a confusing process—learn more about it.

Responsible development

The main way to “do energy right” on public lands is to ensure that conservation and recreation are given the same respect as drilling and grazing on federal lands. New methods of managing BLM lands, called Master Leasing Plans, can help balance all the values and resources of an area—protecting the places that are too wild to drill, and guiding oil and gas drilling towards less-sensitive areas.

How to do energy right

Resource Management Plans

The first place to “do energy right” is at the landscape level with the BLM’s Resource Management Plans. These plans are required for all BLM field offices, and determine how the lands in the area will be developed or protected. These plans change—they are updated at least every 10 years—and there are often revisions and adjustments happening. A Resource Management Plan that balances conservation with energy, and protects sensitive wild places is a good one.

Master Leasing Plans

Within some Resource Management Plans are Master Leasing Plans—more specific management for an area that has many overlapping values.

With a Master Leasing Plan, the BLM meets with conservationists, local communities and other stakeholders to identify the wild and valuable places in an area to ensure that the best and wildest are kept off limits to drilling.

The Wilderness Society has been working closely with the BLM to ensure that more Master Leasing Plans are put in place to protect wildlife habitat and wilderness-quality lands.