BLM slacks on environmental monitoring in Wyoming

For the past six years, the Bureau of Land Management has been slacking on its commitment to assess and limit the impact of natural-gas drilling on wilderness in western Wyoming, says, um, the Bureau of Land Management. A leaked internal assessment for the BLM’s Pinedale, Wyo., field office declares that there is often “no evaluation, analysis, or compiling” of data concerning environmental harm to the area. Had it been doing its job, the BLM might have noticed that drilling activity has upped area nitrous oxide levels and reduced deer and sage grouse populations. According to a former Pinedale BLM employee, agency staffers have been spending their time and energy on drilling requests; under pressure from the White House, the BLM is issuing drilling permits faster than the energy industry can keep up. Says conservationist James D. Range, “While the leaked report shines light on the agency’s failure in one specific place, we fear that it is emblematic of its handling of energy leasing and development throughout the West.”