Wildlife advocates are among those concerned about the presidential executive order to reverse the Clean Power Act and lift a moratorium on new coal leases. The National Wildlife Federation says migrating mule deer and pronghorn are suffering from the effects of energy development and benefited from federal regulations of the industry.
Tribal Partnerships Director Garrit Voggesser says market forces will likely limit how many coal jobs actually return to Wyoming, but he says dwindling wildlife will hurt the state’s economy.
“You have outdoor enthusiasts whether hunters or wildlife watchers that are seeing less and less pronghorn and mule deer and sage grouse and that means less and less economic opportunity for the outdoor industry.”
Voggesser says if more coal companies do decide to expand in the Powder River Basin, it will cause more fragmentation of wildlife habitat there, making it hard for species to survive. He says the Northern Cheyenne tribe in southern Montana has already filed suit against the Trump administration because they’re concerned that lifting the coal moratorium will affect tribal lands and wildlife.