Western Wyoming: from wildland to wasteland?

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reviewing a proposal for what has been called a "massive" natural gas project in western Wyoming.  The project could involve more than than 4,000 new gas wells, interfering with important habitat for mule deer and sage grouse populations -- species that have already suffered significant declines due to energy development in the area.

This project would take place in the Upper Green River Valley of Wyoming. This area used to be among Wyoming's wildest and most pristine landscapes. Now it is home to some of the worst air quality in the nation and groundwater contaminated with the carcinogen benzene. Residents report serious health symptoms including respiratory problems, burning eyes, and nosebleeds.

Government officials have not been able to reduce current air pollution to safe levels, so it is not clear how air pollution will be controlled with any new development, much less 4,000 wells. Even so, taxpayer dollars are being spent to forge ahead with plans for more drilling that will hasten Wyoming's path from wildland to wasteland.

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