Agreement Reached to Prevent Drilling in Hoback Basin
JACKSON, Wyo., Oct. 5, 2012
Lease buyout will protect 58,000 acres of sensitive land in and around
Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest, near Grand Teton National Park
Local residents, ranchers, hunters and state officials express strong support
JACKSON, Wyo., Oct. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Trust for Public
Land announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Plains
Exploration & Production Company (NYSE: PXP) to purchase oil and gas leases on
58,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land located in the Hoback Basin of
the Wyoming Range. Once the transaction is completed, the leases will be
retired, protecting the land from oil and natural gas drilling.
The Trust for Public Land announced the agreement at a media event in Jackson,
Wyoming, with Governor Matt Mead and approximately 100 local residents,
including hunters, anglers, ranchers and mineral industry workers. The PXP
leases are located approximately 30 miles south of Jackson.
"This is an outstanding outcome for the people of Wyoming—a true 'win-win'
resolution. It respects both the wishes of local residents and the legal
rights of leaseholders," said Governor Mead.
The Trust for Public Land is currently working to raise the $8.75 million
needed to complete the transaction by December 31. To date, the organization
has received donations and pledges of $4.5 million from a combination of
individual and philanthropic sources. The Trust for Public Land must raise an
additional $4.25 million by December 31.
"This agreement shows that we can find common ground between conservationists,
hunters, anglers—and even oil and gas developers. We can come together to
solve our toughest problems and reach solutions that are fair to all sides,"
said Deb Love, Northern Rockies Director for the The Trust for Public Land. "I
am delighted that we have reached an agreement, but we are not finished yet.
We must raise an additional $4.25 million by December 31, or the Hoback will
again be in jeopardy. To contribute, please visit www.tpl.org/SaveTheHoback."
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Joe Ricketts, a Wyoming resident, has pledged
$1 million to the Hoback buyout fund and is the lead individual donor. "This
is a historic opportunity to permanently protect an invaluable natural
resource. I am pleased to offer my support for this agreement and call upon
all friends and neighbors of the Wyoming Range to work together to save this
rare and precious land," Ricketts said.
The Hoback Basin is beloved by local residents for its rich hunting and
fishing grounds and astounding natural beauty. Part of the Greater Yellowstone
area, the land affected by the oil and gas leases includes the headwaters of
the Hoback River, a Congressionally designated wild and scenic river that was
named America's 5^th most endangered river in 2012 by American Rivers, the
nation's leading river conservation organization. The Hoback Basin is also a
crucial pathway for migrating animals including mule deer, pronghorn antelope
"PXP is pleased to have worked with the Trust for Public Land on this
agreement. From the first day the Wyoming Range Legacy Act was passed, PXP has
repeatedly stated our willingness to consider a buyout of our lease position
if a valid offer were tendered. Today's announcement fulfills that pledge.
This agreement represents a win-win for all parties," said Steve Rusch, Vice
President of EH&S and Government Affairs at PXP.
"The long term outlook for natural gas prices remains mixed. For the past
several years, PXP has been shifting away from low-margin natural gas toward
higher-priced oil.PXP believes the project would have been accomplished in an
environmentally sensitive manner; however, The Trust for Public Land's
interest in the leases represented an opportunity that was advantageous for
all parties involved. Throughout the history of this project, we have focused
our efforts on collaborating with stakeholders willing to seriously engage on
the issues.The Trust for Public Land reached out to PXP and subsequent
discussions exemplify the types of successes that can be realized when diverse
parties seek to find common ground," Rusch continued.
"I am proud to have worked so closely with my fellow Wyoming citizens, and I
know that we have made a difference.My children and thousands of others will
continue to have the opportunity to recreate in this area without fear from
oil and gas development.This is truly a historic agreement.Thanks to
everyone who helped us," said Carl Bennett, a miner from Rock Springs whose
family owns property near the affected area.
Jace Jackman, a 19-year-old resident of nearby Rock Springs agreed. "My father
taught me how to hunt in the Hoback Basin. I can show you the tree I leaned
against on my first elk hunt. I am looking forward to sharing that tree with
my son and teaching him the same values I learned. Hunting, fishing and
camping are more than pastimes to Wyomingites, they're part of our way of
life. I'm thrilled by the buyout because it means our way of life will be
preserved for my children and for future generations."
Susan Thomas, the widow of Senator Craig Thomas, also spoke at the event.
Senator Thomas originally conceived the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, but he
passed away before it could be considered in Congress. The Legacy Act was
formally introduced by Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi and was signed
into law as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. Among
other provisions, the Legacy Act allows leases to be retired permanently when
bought out, instead of being re-sold to other oil and gas companies.
Approximately 85 percent of the PXP leases fall within the Legacy Act boundary
and will be permanently retired once the buyout is completed. The Trust for
Public Land will hold title to the remaining leases while the organization
develops a long-term retirement solution with state and federal officials.
Maps and images (still and video) of the Hoback Basin, including landscape,
wildlife and recreation shots are available upon request.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land is the nation's leader in creating parks and helping
local communities create funding to protect the places they love. Since 1972,
TPL has protected more than 3 million acres across the country, including more
than 600,000 acres throughout the Northern Rockies—places where people love to
live, work and play.TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations
and corporations. To learn more or to contribute to the Hoback, visit
SOURCE The Trust for Public Land
Contact: Matthew Kagan, +1-310-804-0825, or Barbara Hodgson, +1-424-256-2909
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