Petroleum Association of Wyoming & Western Energy Alliance Submit Comments on Controversial Rock Springs Resource Management Plan

Associations Defend Industry’s Interests Where Task Force Fell Silent

January 17, 2024

Casper, Wyo. – In response to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Rock Springs Resource Management Plan Revisions (RMP), the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW) and Western Energy Alliance (Alliance) submitted comments in defense of multiple use to Wyoming BLM State Director Andrew Archuleta. The industry groups were compelled to take this action to defend the oil and natural gas industry’s interests where the recent task force, assembled by the state and facilitated by the University of Wyoming, remained largely silent.

“BLM gave stakeholders only 5 months to review and comment on a document they spent 13 years to develop. While I appreciate the attempt by Governor Gordon and the University of Wyoming to bring disparate voices to the table, the task force process allowed a minority of one to block proposals from other stakeholders, leaving important issues with the RMP revisions unaddressed. The reality is the BLM’s hard left turn toward the most restrictive proposal possible set us up for failure,” said PAW President Pete Obermueller. “Given the limited time, a flawed task force process, and the importance of our industry to the culture and economy of southwest Wyoming, it is important for groups like PAW and the Alliance to pick up the slack.”

“When we hear President Biden talk about his ‘whole-of-government’ approach to climate, this is what it looks like on the ground,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “BLM plans to close 2.5 million acres to leasing as a way to enact President Biden’s unlawful leasing ban by other means. The plan purposely destroys the multiple-use balance on public lands by stopping oil and natural gas activity in a state that’s one of the leaders in the country. The plan is against the will of the people of Wyoming and contrary to federal lands statutes.”

The importance of the decisions made in RMP were summed up in PAW and the Alliance’s letter, “Wyoming, and even more so the communities within the [Rock Springs Field Office], rely on access to public lands not just for outdoor experiences, but for economic prosperity and job creation. The influence the oil and natural gas industry has on this area of the state is expansive. It has shaped the cultural and societal fabric of these communities and supports robust economic activities. […] The BLM holds the levers to allow this area of the country to continue to have a prosperous economy and the ability to access all of the incredible opportunities for outdoor experiences.”

In part, PAW and the Alliance’s comments touched on the BLM’s use of outdated data, their failure to account for technological advances in the industry that reduce surface disturbances as well as improve air and water quality, the BLM’s failure to engage cooperating agencies in a meaningful way to develop its preferred alternative and several substantive issues related to management actions that negatively impact oil and natural gas.

The full comment letter can be found here.

About PAW: Representing Wyoming’s primary economic engine, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, is the voice of the oil and gas industry. Our members produce 90% of Wyoming’s oil and gas, generating over $5 billion in economic activity and employing more than 19,000 of Wyoming’s hard-working men and women. PAW strives to foster mutually beneficial relationships with Wyoming’s landowners, businesses, and communities while promoting the sustainable production of Wyoming’s abundant resources. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming provides a forum for education, interaction, and unified action for members, policymakers, and the public.

About Western Energy Alliance: Working with a vibrant membership base of independent oil and natural gas companies for over 50 years, Western Energy Alliance stands as a credible leader, advocate, and champion of industry in the West. Our expert staff, active committees, and committed board members form a collaborative and welcoming community of professionals dedicated to abundant, affordable energy and a high quality of life for all. Learn more at