Oil and Gas

Much of the oil and gas produced in the United States comes from our public wildlands. Our work helps to protect our cherished wild places from damages caused by oil and gas drilling.

While there are some lands that are appropriate for oil and gas drilling, others are simply too wild and fragile for industrial development. Oil and gas development can lead to:

  • Habitat fragmentation and disturbances in migration, breeding and foraging habits of wildlife
  • Pollution of air and water through daily operations
  • Toxic oil spills
  • Noise pollution
  • Spoiled beauty of scenic areas 

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. 

Why oil and gas

Our government allows oil and gas companies to drill on the wildlands that belong to all Americans. When not done responsibly, or when allowed to take place in sensitive habitats, drilling can do lasting damages to these wild places.  We work to ensure that any development on our public land is safe and responsible. 

Federal legislation

Laws passed through Congress have established a framework for managing our public lands. These laws allow us to use our lands for various uses without harming the environment.

Leasing on public lands

The oil and gas development process on public lands is in place to decrease environmental harm in surrounding areas. The water, air and habitats need to be kept clean and the oil and gas drilling needs to be kept to the smallest footprint possible. The federal government has important policies in place to ensure this occurs.

Oil and gas FAQs

This page has answers to some frequently asked questions about our work on oil and gas issues.

  • Neil Shader

    The new guidance requires analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has to include effects on climate change – including resource extraction and timber harvesting on federal lands.

  • Emily Linroth

    Montanans from all walks of life announced today that they will continue to defend a beneficial forest restoration project responding to several groups’ repeated attempts to derail it in court.

  • Michael Reinemer

    That legislation carried a number of conservation provisions to safeguard natural, cultural, and historic sites in more than 25 states. “Today, Congress has given the American people an enduring, irreplaceable gift by protecting a number of wild places to explore and celebrate across the country.