Oil and gas leases pulled back! Wyoming’s Adobe Town gets reprieve

Adobe Town, Wyoming. Courtesy Biodiversity Conservation Alliance.

There is a place in south-central Wyoming’s Red Desert region that is so wild and pristine the state designated the area as "Very Rare or Uncommon" back in 2007. While locals recognized the major significance of this spectacular wilderness and spiritual place, Adobe Town was facing a serious threat from a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management to open the area up to oil and gas development. The threat was halted this week, with the BLM announcing the removal of 15 parcels from a Dec. 1 auction in Cheyenne following legal protests by The Wilderness Society and our coalition partners.

The Bureau of Land Management recently announced that all 14,842 acres of lease parcels in Adobe Town were off the table while they seek guidance from Washington, D.C., on "wilderness issues."

This is a large step forward in protecting Adobe Town, in the remote desert badlands with narrow canyons that wind through a colorful hillside, and is home to a variety of animals including burrowing owls and ferruginous hawks, the largest hawk species in North America.

"It’s breath of fresh air the BLM has decided to draw a line in the sand and not lease away one of our most cherished places," said Nada Culver, Senior Counsel at The Wilderness Society. "This is proof when people from all walks of life stick up for a special spot, we can ensure new generations of Americans will always have a place to hunt, camp and hike."

The threat facing Adobe Town is not over. The BLM has been working to approve a total of 15,000 wells in the surrounding Red Desert region. These are coupled with 5000 wells that have already been drilled, bringing along with them towering drilling rigs and worksites, pipelines as far as the eye can see, and increased road traffic that is destructive to neighboring habitats.

The impacts of these wells extend beyond these concerns to include many other environmental threats. The Wilderness Society and our partners will continue to fight on behalf of our members, local residents, and the Sweetwater County Commission who passed a resolution recommending the withdrawal of the southern two-thirds of Adobe Town from oil and gas leasing. We’ll let you know how you can play a role in this effort soon.

photo: Adobe Town, Wyoming. Courtesy Biodiversity Conservation Alliance.