A 5000-well oil and gas project proposed for the Powder River Basin is drawing sharp criticism from a wildlife advocacy group. Erik Molvar with WildEarth Guardians says the drilling would take place right in the middle of critical sage grouse habitat.
“Well, the 5000 wells are projected in an area of over a million acres to the north of Douglas, stretching all the way up in the Thunder Basin National Grassland and including several core areas that have been proposed priority habitat for sage grouse,” Molvar says.
The population of sage grouse has dropped in the state by 60% in the last seven years, according to Molvar, and he says the decline is even steeper in the Powder River Basin where the development is proposed.
Molvar hopes a BLM sage grouse protection plan amendment that’s under consideration will set strict rules for the project, such as limiting the number of well pads allowed and only drilling when sage grouse are not breeding.