Wed April 27, 2011

Wilderness or Wild Lands? Policy Sparks Controversy

South Shale Ridge in western Colorado is prized for scenery, and the natural gas that lies beneath it.
Photo by Kirk Siegler

Wilderness conservation took a hit as part of this year’s federal budget compromise. A rider slipped into the bill at the last minute has put millions of acres of land back on the table for oil and gas drilling.  One of those places is South Shale Ridge in western Colorado. The area is not federally protected wilderness.  So the conservation-minded Interior Department had floated a different term for places like it, “wild lands.”  But that definition is now up in the air.

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