By Jim Stanford on December 13, 2012
With little more than two weeks left to complete a deal, the Trust for Public Land has raised $7.6 million of the $8.75 million it needs to retire drilling leases and protect the Wyoming Range south of Jackson from oil and gas development.
The trust must raise the remaining $1.15 million by the end of the year. In the last week, donors have given $1.7 million, including $200,000 from the Pinedale Anticline Mitigation Fund.
All those small donations must be making an impact. In the last two months, advocates have made the case on social media that even a $150 contribution will protect an acre of land.
To help reach the goal, The Deadlocks and Jalan Crossland will perform a benefit concert Dec. 21 at Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20 or $100 for VIP with food and cocktails. The Jackson-based website Clean Snipe is helping put on the show, along with a host of other local businesses.
If finalized, the deal would eliminate the threat of drilling on about 58,000 acres of the range, which is prized for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Noble Basin, the area targeted for development, includes some of the headwaters of the Hoback River, a Snake tributary designated by Congress as Wild and Scenic.
TPL brokered the deal earlier this year with Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co., which owns the drilling leases. Congress, spurred by the late Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming, put some 1.2 million acres of the range off-limits to drilling in 2009, but PXP had grandfathered rights.
(Photo by Chris Havener)