Oil and Gas

The Mamm Peak Roadless Area, south of Rifle, has become an island in a sea of oil and gas development. WW is working to prevent further encroachment on roadless areas and sensitive wildlife habitat in our region. Photo © Dan Bayer.

Natural gas development is the preeminent danger to ecological values in the western portion of our service area, and is threatening to expand into the Roaring Fork watershed. Our Oil & Gas Defense Program’s goal is to prevent or minimize the adverse ecological impacts of energy development on these lands. In addition, oil shale development being contemplated on public lands north of Rifle poses a risk to the entire region.

Led by WW staff attorney Peter Hart, the Oil & Gas Defense Program provides the frontline defense on all these issues, typically partnering with other local, regional and national groups. We file comments, protests, appeals, and (if necessary) lawsuits to ensure that nature is given due consideration in the decision-making process, and we mobilize our members and the public in support of our positions.

We’re currently concentrating on the following issues:

Thompson Divide
WW is defending this 220,000- acre landscape from oil and gas development, including leading opposition to the Lake Ridge Unit and development of leases in roadless areas. More…

Illegal leases
By its own admission, the BLM issued 65 oil and gas leases in violation of various environmental laws and regulations. WW is pulling out all the stops to get the leases voided. More…

Oil & gas plans
We’re pushing for the strongest possible revision of the White River National Forest’s oil and gas leasing plan and a similar BLM planning process that will set priorities for the next 15-20 years. More…

Regional air quality
Our victory in Wilderness Workshop v. Crockett has forced the BLM to revisit 1,400 as-yet undrilled gas wells which it approved without adequate analysis of air impacts. More…

Roan Plateau
We’re one of the plaintiffs in the long-running lawsuit to keep drill rigs out of the plateau’s ecologically sensitive areas. More…

Oil shale
We’re a key player in the conservation community’s effort to rein in this proposed development in Colorado, which could have devastating regional impacts. More…