Some environmental groups have concerns about a land use plan that the Bureau of Land Management has drafted for the Buffalo area.
Jill Morrison with the Powder River Basin Resource Council says until now, the BLM has placed restrictions on energy development in areas that can't easily be reclaimed – for example, areas with steep slopes, or with fragile soil.
“Our concerns are the fact that they waive those restrictions – they’ll do away them,” Morrison said. “And those restrictions are there to protect land from being developed that can’t be reclaimed. They’re there to protect wildlife. … They’re there to protect water.”
Morrison says she also thinks the BLM has not adequately evaluated air quality impacts from development that would be allowed under the plan.
The BLM has touted the plan as offering greater protections to sage grouse, while still allowing for mineral extraction.