Don’t Frack the Hoback!May 24, 2012 | Most Endangered Rivers, Fracking, Wild and Scenic Rivers
Take Action to Protect the
Send a letter to PXP today asking them to donate or sell their gas leases to a conservation buyer!
What would the American public think if energy companies proposed drilling for oil in Yellowstone National Park?
We’d be outraged, of course.
How about if an energy company proposed drilling for natural gas at the headwaters of a federally protected Wild and Scenic river?
That’s exactly what a Houston-based energy company, Plains Exploration and Production (PXP), is proposing at the headwaters of the Hoback River 40 miles southeast of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. PXP is seeking permission from the U.S. Forest Service to drill 136 gas wells there using the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
It’s the first time an industrial-scale gas field has been proposed at the headwaters of a Wild and Scenic river anywhere in the country. Needless to say, it would establish a horrible precedent and likely lead to water pollution, air pollution, and displacement of wildlife.
The Yellowstone analogy is appropriate in this case, for the Hoback River flows through the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the last intact temperate ecosystems left on earth. Wildlife officials have called the Hoback headwaters – right where PXP wants to drill – one of the most crucial wildlife crossroads in the country. It is home to elk, moose, mule deer, antelope, lynx, wolves, grizzly bears, and native Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
Fortunately, there is a way to protect the Hoback River from gas drilling now and forever – PXP should donate or sell its existing leases to a conservation buyer. It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened in the Northern Rockies. Just a few years ago, several energy companies voluntarily retired their oil and gas leases along the Rocky Mountain Front and along the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River in northwest Montana.
Natural gas is a vital component of America’s energy portfolio. But that doesn’t mean gas drilling should be allowed everywhere, especially at the headwaters of a Wild and Scenic river whose wildlife rivals Yellowstone’s and whose clean water is priceless.
Today is Hoback River Day! To protect the Hoback from natural gas drilling, send a letter to PXP today asking them to donate or sell their gas leases to a conservation buyer.