A long hard-fought struggle pays off: No drilling for Vermillion Basin

Ann Morgan.

We’re approaching the 4th of July holiday which allows us a moment to stop and celebrate our country’s independence. The Wilderness Society has another reason to celebrate this week as well. Yesterday the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office in Northwest Colorado announced a major victory—Vermillion Basin in Northwest Colorado will be off-limits to oil and gas drilling. This was a long and hard fought process by our Colorado staff and our coalition partners.

I am very proud of the work The Wilderness Society has done. Vermillion Basin has been part of my work portfolio for over ten years including my days as the BLM Colorado State Director. I can recall Pam Eaton, now our Deputy Vice President for Public Lands, and Suzanne Jones, our Central Rocky Mountain Regional Director, coming into my office at the BLM convincing me that Vermillion was something special and that we needed to work together to protect this area. Without The Wilderness Society, the Vermillion Basin would have been industrialized years ago and now it will be protected.

Vermillion Sunset. Photo by Sam Cox.I’m proud to have worked with many of our staff on this in a variety of different capacities. The hard work, perseverance, creativity, advocacy, unbiased science, political smarts, and passion have all paid off and taught me important lessons over the years. This may only be one step forward in our organization’s larger efforts, but when we are able to add up these small victories we can begin to see the powerful impact we are having in ensuring our public lands get the protections they need.

Next month we are expecting the full details of the revised Little Snake Resource Management Plan. We are hopeful we’ll see even more valuable protections within that plan. In the meantime, celebrate our accomplishments! I will be reveling in this win for a while.

Read more about Vermillion Basin here.

Or for more information about our work in northwest Colorado, you can contact:
Soren Jespersen
Northwest Colorado Wildlands Coordinator
The Wilderness Society
529 Yampa Ave.
Craig, CO 81625
(970) 824-5241

photo: Vermillion Sunset. Photo by Sam Cox.