The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in charge of more than 18 million acres of public lands in Wyoming

The BLM is drawing criticism from Gov. Mark Gordon and the oil and gas industry over new rules for that land.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., have promised to repeal the rules finalized in April, calling it a land grab and saying they subvert the multiple-use requirement under the Federal Land Policy Management Act.

The National Parks Conservation Association wants the rules to protect mule deer and pronghorn that travel 200 miles from the Red Desert to Grand Teton National Park.

"That corridor has been exceedingly fragmented by decades of widespread oil and gas development and leasing," Kiklis pointed out. "Under these rules, the BLM is now positioned to drive leasing away from critical wildlife habitat like the path of the pronghorn in western Wyoming." (PNS).


Getty Images
Getty Images

Yet these same rules are pushed aside when using the land for wind and solar farms.

Wind and solar farms have a much larger footprint than oil and gas rigs.

The PEW research center has been studying Wyoming migration routes to see how human activity affects different species.

Q: What are the most important findings from this project?
A: Previous research has shown that mule deer tend to speed up their migrations in areas where energy or housing development encroach on their routes, but we’ve never known just how much development these migratory routes can withstand before deer quit using them.

Our study showed that migratory use by deer steeply declined when surface disturbance from energy development, such as access roads and well pads, exceeded 3% of the migration route. (Read the full converstation with the PEW researches at this link.).

Questions are being raised as to why one type of energy development is allowed (wind and solar), yet another is not (oil and gas) when the results on wildlife are the same.

Backroad Up The Bighorns

There are many ways to explore the Bighorn Mountain.

Not all of the backroads are dangerous.

Some are of good quality, and have the best views you'll ever see.

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

Exploring Wyoming's Alcova River Canyon

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

More From Wake Up Wyoming