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Book, concert to boost PXP buyout

Posted: Monday, Dec 17th, 2012

WYOMING – Laguna Wilderness Press (LWP) is dedicating proceeds from its latest publication, “The Wild Wyoming Range,” to the Trust for Public Lands’ (TPL) fund to buy out Plains Exploration and Production’s (PXP) natural gas leases in Hoback Basin.

Also to support the buyout, the Wyoming Outdoor Council (WOC) will host a benefit concert in Jackson on Friday, Dec. 21, with proceeds going to the TPL fund. The “Save the Hoback” concert will feature musicians The Deadlocks, Jalan Crossland and Spatial Relations. A benefit raffle is planned with prizes including a Fender guitar signed by actor Johnny Depp.

“The Wild Wyoming Range” publication of photography and accompanying prose aims to highlight the pristine beauty of the rugged Wyoming Range. Aiskell Roman, LWP press coordinator, announced last week that LWP would donate its proceeds to the TPL efforts to raise a total of $8.75 million by Dec. 31.

“In an effort to enhance public awareness of wilderness issues, it (LWP) publishes books, first, that depict nature and pristine areas through photography and essay,” Roman said.

Laguna’s books, Roman said, “focus on changing landscapes and the impact of urban growth, technology, and development on natural beauty and resources.”

LWP founder and editor Ron Chilcote said the group intends to increase

awareness and appreciation for the

Wyoming Range.

“Putting the book together with our images and the writing has been a five-year process. Now that the book is formally published, we intend to share it with as many people as possible,” Chilcote said.

Chilcote said LWP was involved with the WOC, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, The Wilderness Society and other local groups for this project and others.

“Our major goal, of course, is to inform people about ‘The Wild Wyoming Range’ book and to find ways to get it in the hands of people everywhere so as to raise not only awareness, but appreciation, for the beautiful area that we live in,” Chilcote said.

PXP currently holds drilling leases on 58,000 acres in and around Hoback Basin and the Rim, and had proposed 136 natural gas wells on the holdings. The TPL announced Oct. 5 at a press conference that they reached an agreement with PXP to buy out the leases for $8.75 million, if the money could be raised by Dec. 31.

The TPL reported Monday that the fund now stands at $7.67 million.

If successful the leases would be permanently retired, mainly through the U.S. Wyoming Legacy Act that protects nearby lands from development.

The LWP also recently called attention to the massive Red Desert gas drilling project with the publication of “Wyoming’s Red Desert,” mostly photographed and written by Biodiversity Conservation Alliance biologist Erik Molvar.

The Red Desert project, proposed by BP American Production Company and referred to as the Continental Divide – Creston Natural Gas Development Project (CD-C), is a vast 1.1-million-acre drilling venture based in the Rawlins area.

It is an expansion of 8,950 natural gas wells over the next 15 years, which could produce an estimated 12.02 trillion cubic feet of natural gas during a 30 to 40-year life.

“This is the largest single drilling project the West has ever seen,” Molvar said in a new release Dec. 7.

Chilcote said the LWP called attention to that project in 2010 with the publication of “Wyoming’s Red Desert.”

“For the Red Desert, there are many issues, the major one being protection of Adobe Town that few people know about but has been threatened by development. I think of it as a Wyoming's hidden jewel and much like Bryce Canyon in Utah,” Chilcote said.

Molvar’s news release states that Adobe Town is excluded from the CD-C project area and does not include any other citizens’ proposed wilderness lands, but still holds significant environmental and habitat impacts.

“We’ll be watching this project very carefully, because this could actually become the first big drilling project that gets some support from the conservation community if it’s done right,” Molvar said.

The BLM Rawlins office is accepting public comments on the CD-C project through Jan. 21.

“The Wild Wyoming Range” hit shelves in Pinedale on Friday and is available at Office Outlet, Obo’s, The Great Outdoor Shop, the Cowboy Shop, Ridley’s, Rock Rabbit and Lakeside Lodge.

The LWP will also have a book-selling table set up at the Dec. 21 benefit in Jackson.

For the complete article see the 12-18-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-18-2012 paper.

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