Volume 5, Number 31 - October 27, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Gun protection bill passes
Last week the U.S. House approved, by a 283-to-144 margin, bipartisan legislation curbing frivolous lawsuits filed against gun manufacturers.
U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin, a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment and board member of the National Rifle Association, voted in favor of the bill.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act has already passed the senate and now goes to President George W. Bush for his signature.
"The Second Amendment is under assault by legions of attorneys bent on destroying the firearms industry," Cubin said.
The bill prohibits lawsuits against members of the firearms industry for the criminal or unlawful misuse of their products.
Over the last decade, more than 34 governmental entities have filed lawsuits against gun manufacturers, distributors and trade associations for harm caused by others who criminally or unlawfully misuse their products.
Historically, American courts have not held firearms manufacturers liable for the injuries caused by the criminal action of third parties, or where a third party unlawfully misuses the product. A gun manufacturer who produces a weapon that performs as intended without a product defect has done no wrong in the eyes of the law. Even unsuccessful lawsuits, however, incur tremendous legal costs on the defendant.
The bill has been approved by the house and the senate and is ready to be signed into law.
Senator Craig Thomas, a co-sponsor of the bill, applauded last week's vote.
"Holding gun manufacturers responsible for criminal use of guns doesn't make sense. We need to place blame where it belongs. I'm pleased the provision made it through the house, so we don't have to watch gun-control advocates abuse the courts with lawsuits," Thomas said.
Hoback well approved
Plains Petroleum has received approval from the Bureau of Land Management for an exploratory unit in the South Rim area of Sublette County. An initial exploratory gas well will be located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
In October, the Wyoming BLM Reservoir Management Group approved the designation of the South Rim Unit for Plains Petroleum Exploration and Production Company. The South Rim Unit is an exploratory oil and gas unit encompassing 19,427 acres of federal minerals in Township 36 North, Range 113 West in Sublette County.
By definition, an exploratory unit is an "agreement or plan for the development and operation which provides for the recovery of oil and/or gas from the lands made ... as a single, consolidated entity without regard to separate ownerships and for the allocation of costs and benefits on a basis as defined in the unit plan."
The 19,427 acres of federal minerals either underlie lands in the Bridger-Teton National Forest or private surface (Hoback Ranches subdivision) lands. Currently, there are 18 of the approximate 122 homes in the subdivision that fall under Township 36.
The first proposed well pad will be located on U.S. Forest Service-managed land in SW1/4 Section 8, Township 36 North, Range 113 West which is on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. There have been three notices of staking and three applications for permit to drill submitted for the location. A minimum 1/4 mile distance is the closest to any private residence that any well can be established. The Lance Formation will be tested for oil and gas. The Lance is the formation from which both the Jonah Gas Field and the Pinedale Anticline produce gas.
All of the mineral leases within this project are combined under a unitization process. Unitization is the combining of oil and gas leases into one unit. This allows all leaseholders to benefit from production from any lease. It also benefits the orderly development of the field.
The exploratory project is scheduled to begin as soon as the applications for permit to drill are reviewed and approved. This project will comply with all winter drilling stipulations designed to protect wildlife winter habitat. No drilling will be permitted between Nov. 15 and May 15 annually.
For more information, contact Roger Bankert in the Pinedale BLM office at (307) 367-5316.
Field reps to visit
Field representatives for Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi and Congresswoman Cubin will be in Big Piney and Pinedale on Tuesday, Nov. 1, to visit with the public. Pati Smith, Lyn Shanaghy and Bonnie Cannon will be at the Big Piney Town Hall from 11 a.m. to noon and at the Pinedale Town Hall from 2 to 3 p.m. Area residents with concerns about the federal government are invited to attend.
BLM adds two PAPA open houses
The Bureau of Land Management in Pinedale is preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement for the Pinedale Anticline Year-Round Access Project. As part of the SEIS, the BLM seeks public comment on the Pinedale Anticline year-round access project.
The 30-day public comment period concludes at the close of business Monday, Nov. 19.
Originally, the BLM planned to provide the public with an opportunity to review the proposal and project information at a meeting be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Pinedale Library. BLM has now added two more meetings to gather input: on Monday, Nov. 7, there will be a meeting in the Jackson Town Hall from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and one in Big Piney Town Hall from 5 - 6:30 p.m.
The Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, a Jackson-based non-profit organization, has established a website about Greater Yellowstone big game migrations. The website, found at www.gyemigrations.org, serves as a science-based, information-sharing warehouse. The website includes a list of current migration projects undertaken by agencies and organizations; an outlet for the development of best management practices for managing migrations; a comprehensive bibliography; and serves as a host for GIS data on migration routes.
The Wildlife Society, with funding from Shell Exploration and Production Company, has initiated a five-year study to evaluate the impacts of natural gas development on wintering pronghorn antelope in the Upper Green River Basin. The study will examine the effects of gas field activity on over-winter survival of pronghorn; detail antelope response to winter drilling; determine to what extent disturbance affects body condition and reproduction; and assess habitat use in relation to fragmentation by roads, well pads and human activity.
As part of the study, movements of 50 female pronghorns are monitored via GPS collars. Remotely controlled platform scales are being used to evaluate seasonal changes in antelope body mass. The scale readings are triggered by transponder eartags affixed to the antelope.
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