"In A ‘Sacred’ Desert, The U.S. Turns Away From Drilling And Mining"

"The Biden administration faces a backlash in Wyoming as it puts more emphasis on conservation, recreation and renewable energy on public lands."

"SWEETWATER COUNTY, Wyo. — From near the 8,700 foot peak of Steamboat Mountain here, Mark Kot looks down on the sandy and brush-covered Red Desert — home to some of the largest desert elk, pronghorn and sage grouse populations in North America.

For decades, the U.S. government made resource extraction — mining, grazing, and oil and gas development — a priority on public lands such as these in southwest Wyoming. Environmental protections often came second. That would change under a sweeping Biden administration plan to place hundreds of thousands of acres of the Red Desert and the surrounding sagebrush steppe off limits to development.

It represents a big shift for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, the 80 year-old agency that oversees 245 million acres of public property — about a tenth of the nation’s land mass. Known as the nation’s largest landlord, the bureau is putting more emphasis on conservation, recreation and renewable energy development as the planet warms.

Many politicians in this Republican-dominated state fiercely oppose the plans for Wyoming, arguing they could kneecap industries crucial to the region’s economy. Environmentalists counter that it would be a long-overdue update for the modern age, to protect the nation’s public lands from the emerging challenges of climate change and development."

Timothy Puko reports for the Washington Post November 28, 2023.

Source: Washington Post, 11/29/2023