Greens are still seeing red

  • WESTERN DREAM: Mac Blewer in Wyoming's Red Desert with Oregon Buttes in the background

    Mike McClure


After 100 years of failed attempts to protect southwest Wyoming's Red Desert, environmentalists say it's do or die. Oil and gas companies plan to sink 10,000 to 15,000 wells by 2010, and a coalition of conservation groups, ranchers and outfitters doesn't think the Bureau of Land Management's plan will protect the area.

Mac Blewer of the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the state's largest environmental group, says the alternatives listed in the agency's draft environmental impact statement fail to safeguard the 575,000-acre desert, centered on the Jack Morrow Hills, from mineral development. The agency is trying to please everyone, he says, and can't let go of its "age-old love affair with the mineral industry."

"The Red Desert represents everything about the West that Americans dream about," says Blewer (HCN, 5/27/96: Wyoming's Red Desert: 15 million acres of contention). It's significant both biologically and culturally, he says; the desert is home to some 40,000 pronghorn antelope that make up the largest migratory game herd in the lower 48 states, and contains significant sites left by both pioneers and Native Americans. "Visitors aren't coming to see oil and gas fields," he says.

The coalition has submitted an alternative citizens' proposal, which would allow some grazing and off-road vehicle use, but would halt all oil and gas leasing within the area. It would also designate the Red Desert as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, forcing the BLM to write a specific management plan for the area.

The BLM is reviewing the citizens' proposal and the 12,000 other public comments it has received before it issues a final EIS. The BLM's Renee Dana says the agency's goal is to "strike a balance" between the multiple uses of the area. She adds that by the time the agency releases a final EIS, it will probably be too late for Bruce Babbitt to sign a Record of Decision. That chore would fall to the next secretary of the Interior.

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • 1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • The National Parks Conservation Association, the nations leading national park advocacy organization, seeks a Regional Director to lead and manage staff for the Southwest Regional...
  • available in Gothic, CO for 2019 summer season - Manager, Lead Cooks, Prep-Cooks, Dishwasher - at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL). The Dining Hall...
  • Suitable for planting hay, hemp, fruit. Excellent water rights. 1800 square foot farmhouse, outbuildings, worker housing.
  • More information: Search 96076
  • Friends of the Verde River is looking for someone to join our team who has a keen investigative mind and is an excellent communicator and...
  • - Thriving Indie bookstore in Durango, CO. 1800 sf of busy retail space in a 3100 sf historic building. Long term lease or option to...
  • with home on one acre in Pocatello, ID. For information and photos visit
  • The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is seeking a technical partner to develop a land management plan for the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears Landscape in southeastern...
  • Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • on 3 acres near Moxon. 3 bd/1.5 bath, apt. Views/access to hiking, fishing, wildlife.1-207-593-6312. $165,900.
  • Senior position responsible for the development of all marketing and fundraising strategies to grow the base of philanthropic support and awareness of GSEP.
  • This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
  • A new generation of monkey wrenchers hits the Front Range?
  • The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research.
  • near Ennis, MT. Artist designed, 1900 SF, 2BR/2BA home on 11.6 acres with creek, tree, views, privacy. 406-570-9233 or [email protected] (Country Homes).
  • Colorado Farm to Table is looking for a full-time energetic, creative Executive Director to lead our team in Salida.
  • Join HCN and Black Sheep Adventures on an expedition through the national parks and monuments of Utah and Southwest Colorado, September 7 - 15, 2019....