ENERGY: Coal, Gas, Oil
February 26, 2015
Update from Western Energy Alliance...
Faulty Science Threatens Western Rural Economies

A coalition of western counties and ranching, mining, and energy associations filed three Data Quality Act challenges to the information that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are using to make public lands and Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions for the Greater Sage-Grouse. The coalition is challenging the reports the agencies are using to justify top-down restrictive measures that will damage western communities in sage-grouse habitat while discouraging more effective state and local conservation efforts.

The coalition consists of Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, and Rio Blanco counties in Colorado; Carter, Fallon, Fergus, McCone, Musselshell, Phillips, Prairie, Toole, Richland, and Yellowstone counties in Montana; Elko and Eureka counties in Nevada; Uintah County in Utah; American Exploration & Mining Association; Colorado Mining Association; Colorado Wool Growers Association; Independent Petroleum Association of America; International Association of Drilling Contractors; Montana Association of Oil, Gas & Coal Counties; Montana Petroleum Association; Nevada Mining Association; Petroleum Association of Wyoming; Public Lands Council; Utah Multiple Use Coalition; and Western Energy Alliance.

Coalition members support state, local and private sage-grouse conservation efforts over the one-size-fits-all measures being imposed by the federal agencies. The agencies are justifying their top-down approach with selective and faulty information that ignores a large body of scientific literature on the species. The states are much better suited, with their expertise as wildlife managers, to protect the sage grouse. Many studies show how misguided federal management will harm the sage grouse and the 11 states it inhabits.

The full Data Quality Act challenges are available here and an Executive Summary is available here.

Ozone and Overreach

EPA’s proposed lower ozone standard is another example of regulatory overreach that’s affecting just about every economic activity and industry in the country. But the West is going to be particularly hurt, as background levels are close to the range of the proposed standard. With transport from Asia and naturally occurring ozone, lowering the level below 70 parts per billion (ppb) could push even rural counties without significant industrial activity into nonattainment, particularly at higher elevations. In other words, EPA could stop all human activities and parts of the West would still not meet the standard.

Westerners could lose their jobs and livelihoods without achieving any real environmental benefit. In fact, a lower ozone standard would make the country much poorer, costing society $140 billion annually, or $830 per household, and killing 1.4 million jobs, according to NERA Economic Consulting. With those impacts, a lower ozone standard becomes a social justice issue, but not in the way EPA normally spins social justice.

Click here for Western Energy Alliance’s full comment letter.

The staff of Western Energy Alliance and I are always available to answer any questions about western oil and natural gas development. We’re available at (303) 623-0987 or via email.


Kathleen M. Sgamma
VP, Government & Public Affairs
Western Energy Alliance
1775 Sherman St., Suite 2700
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 501-1059 direct
(303) 623-0987 main

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