Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands

Much of the oil and gas produced in America comes from wildlands managed by the federal government. Some places are too wild to drill though—with important wildlife habitat, scenic beauty and other cultural and environmental benefits at risk.

The Wilderness Society is working to protect some of these wild places from potential damages from energy development, including oil and natural gas.

We work to ensure that conservation is being taken into account when development decisions are being made. This is done by guiding projects to more suitable areas and protecting places where drilling should not happen.

What The Wilderness Society is doing

The Wilderness Society is committed to making sure that oil and gas development is done safely and responsibly, while making sure our most pristine and treasured landscapes are protected.

We do this through our work with local communities, state and federal government agencies and those who value our lands for a multitude of uses including conservation, hunting and fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

A number of land management plan revisions, wildlife protection efforts and reform of how federal agencies do business gives us an opportunity to put conservation into the mix early on.

How drilling threatens wilderness

Oil and gas drilling leaves a large footprint on the land, Extracting these fossil fuels requires a mesh of roads, pipelines and well pads that break up large swaths of land and fragment wildlife habitat. Currently, oil and gas development is one of the largest threats to our wild landscapes. Learn more

Unequal ground

Unbalanced leasing policies on public lands put conservation and energy on unequal ground. These policies favor drilling above conservation and lead to millions of acres of public land being locked up.

Doing energy right

There are ways to protect important lands and still allow for some oil and gas drilling – but it has to be done in ways that avoid our most sensitive lands. Learn more about how The Wilderness Society is guiding energy development the right way.

Oil and gas FAQs

  • Michael Reinemer

    The following statement is from Sally Miller, senior regional conservation representative with The Wilderness Society, regarding Representative Paul Cook’s introduction of legislation to create the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area and include it in the Bureau of Land Management’s system of National Conservation Lands:

  • Michael Reinemer

    Senators Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced the bill along with Republican Senators James Risch of Idaho, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana as well as Democratic Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

    The bill would change how the federal government budgets for the suppression of wildfire disasters, to make it similar to the way other disasters are funded.

  • Anonymous

    “The amendment offered by Senator Fischer to the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation proposes to create major roadblocks for popular local programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund that secures access to popular public lands for sportsmen, recreationists and all Americans.