Daily DrakeOilpump

OilpumpConservation across Western public lands is not a cheap prospect, considering that what’s buried under the ground has been valued at treasure-like proportions by those intent on tapping it. But that hasn’t stopped groups from making headway in the fight to stymie drilling interests by outcompeting oil and gas companies in the race to purchase leases from the feds at regular energy auctions.

Recent successes include the raising of $10 million to persuade companies to abandon mining rights along the North Fork of the Flathead River, which flows into Montana’s Glacier National Park. In Wyoming, the Trust for Public Land and groups of fishermen and others raised $8.75 million to block oil and gas leases on 58,000 acres of forests and mountains by holding benefit concerts, auctioning a guitar signed by Johnny Depp, and by securing $100 donations from people across the state and country. Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire, donated $4.25 million to the cause.

Via The New York Times: “But here in the Elk Mountains of Colorado, the free-market path has been as twisting and as unpredictable as a hike into the harshest wilderness.

“For five years, few people, if any, who hiked and hunted and fished and cycled around the 220,000 acres of rumpled national forest known as the Thompson Divide knew it had been auctioned off for energy development. After 61 leases were auctioned in 2003, nothing really happened. Ranchers led their cows to summer pastures on the land. Guides led hunters into the mountains, toward herds of migrating elk and deer. The companies did not survey the land, build roads, file for drilling permits or take any other steps that usually draw a region’s attention.

“Around 2008, environmental lawyers and activists discovered the land had been opened to energy development. Residents quickly knitted together a coalition of liberal and conservative local governments, ranchers, hunters, anglers and environmentalists to devise a way to prevent the drilling.”

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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