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Denver, Colo. (April 10, 2014) – Today the Department of the Interior unveiled a new strategy to mitigate the impacts from development on public lands. The strategy, which is a result of a Secretarial Order issued last October, aligns with calls from a group of independent outdoor sales reps for improving the balance between energy development and conservation on public lands.
Most recently in February, sales rep Carri Wullner, the President of Mountain Localwrote in Wyofile, “In order to inspire and engage young people in our great outdoors, we must ensure high quality outdoor experiences. Increasingly, our nation’s booming energy industry is bumping into our thriving outdoor recreation economy. (Interior) Secretary (Sally) Jewell is tasked with finding the balance between these booming industries.”
The strategy unveiled by Secretary Jewell is a big step toward achieving the goals of balance laid out by the sales reps in their letter (attached). The strategy outlines priorities for the Department of the Interior to consider when evaluating development on public lands. In particular, it strengthens the agency’s commitment to landscape level planning that takes into consideration the impacts of development not just at the well pad or along a transmission corridor, but across a much larger landscape. This reflects a science based approach to planning that utilizes the best available technology to bring land use decisions into the 21st century.
Jack Powell, a principal at the Sherpa Group Two, an outdoor rep wrote about his personal stake in advocating for a clear strategy in The Hill, “I am a small business owner based in Portland, Oregon running an independent outdoor apparel and gear shop. The continued growth and success of my business depends on my customers’ access to recreational opportunities. As new technologies have unlocked vast tracts of oil and gas across the country, it has become more and more common for energy development and outdoor recreation to come into conflict.”
The new strategy is the result of extensive outreach to industry, states, tribes, conservation groups, and other stakeholders and reflects the Administration’s commitment (Presidential Memorandum) to more efficiently permit the energy industry while achieving improved outcomes for all stakeholders and the environment.
Wullner stated when she heard the news of the strategy “It’s refreshing and encouraging to realize that as a group, our voice can make a difference.”
About Equal Ground
The Equal Ground campaign is focused on restoring balance to America’s public lands. Republican and Democratic presidents and prior Congresses have achieved equality between conservation and energy development. But the last four years have thrown off this tradition, and it’s time to level the scales once again. Please visit www.equalground.org
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