Conservationists Support Salazar’s Energy Leasing Reform

Hunters and anglers call revision of federal leasing protocol “long overdue,”
promote bringing clarity and public engagement to public-lands management

WASHINGTON – Led by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, members of a coalition of prominent conservation groups emphatically seconded dramatic reforms to the federal government’s minerals-leasing policy announced today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.


The TRCP Fish, Wildlife and Energy Working Group for years has urged federal leaders and policymakers to prioritize revision of the federal energy leasing and development process on Western public lands so that fish and wildlife resources and sporting opportunities can be sustained.


In a long-anticipated press conference, Secretary Salazar today heralded several significant changes that the Bureau of Land Management will undertake to better conserve public-lands resources and reduce potential conflicts over federal leasing decisions. The secretary also announced creation of an “energy reform team” that will be tasked with identifying and implementing energy management revisions.


America’s sportsmen are deeply invested in ensuring the responsible management of our federal public lands and have welcomed past opportunities to work with Secretary Salazar and the Department of the Interior to develop administrative policy promoting the outcome presented today,” said Dr. Rollin Sparrowe, working group co-chair and TRCP board member. “The secretary’s announcement comes not a moment too soon for our nation’s shared natural resources and cherished outdoor heritage.” 


“Today, the Department of the Interior acknowledged that it ‘can do better’ in fulfilling its federal charge and mandate,” said Leah Elwell, conservation coordinator for the Federation of Fly Fishers and working group co-chair. “The steps outlined by Secretary Salazar should result in more effective conservation of important fish and wildlife habitat and sustaining our fishing and hunting opportunities.”


The TRCP’s approach to balanced energy development is guided by the team of biologists and experts that form the Fish, Wildlife and Energy Working Group. By combining the science-based expertise of the working group with an active network of sportsmen, the TRCP engages with hunters and anglers to conserve the nation’s outdoor traditions by supporting responsible energy development.


“Sportsmen are acutely aware of the significance of the Interior Department when it comes to overseeing our natural resources and safeguarding the future of hunting and fishing,” said TRCP Energy Policy Manager Steve Belinda, “and we welcome the increased clarity and public engagement promised by the secretary in the federal minerals-leasing process.


“We are eager, however, to see these promises followed by strong and decisive action,” continued Belinda. “Our shared resources have suffered for far too long due to subpar, shortsighted management. We look forward to reforms being applied to the vast expanses of public lands that already are leased – and to continuing to work with the administration to assure that fish, wildlife and hunting and fishing are sustained as our energy resources are developed.” 


The TRCP and its partners believe that to better balance the concerns of fish and wildlife in the face of accelerating energy development, federal land management agencies must follow the conservation tenets outlined in the FACTS for Fish and Wildlife and the CAST principles.


Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions
of hunting and fishing.