Laramie, WY – A petroleum industry group says a sharp decline in oil and gas leasing on public land in the West is hurting the region's economy.
The Denver-based Western Energy Alliance says its members are ready to spend 3.9 billion dollars to drill in the West, creating 16,000 jobs.
But the group says that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in 2010 issued 79 percent fewer oil and gas leases in the Rocky Mountain region compared to five years earlier. A spokeswoman for the alliance, blames environmental regulations.
Environmentalists say industry itself is the cause by creating a natural gas glut, driving down prices and decreasing its own incentive to drill on public lands.
The report focuses on Colorado, the Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.