Three conservation groups are suing the U.S. Interior Department over a plan to open the Fortification Creek area in northeast Wyoming to coal-bed methane development. The Bureau of Land Management has approved phased development starting this year. The National Wildlife Federation joined in the lawsuit with two Wyoming groups - the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Wyoming Outdoor Council. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The Fortification Creek area consists of about 100,000 acres in Campbell, Johnson and Sheridan counties. It is home to a rare prairie elk herd and large areas of steep slopes and sensitive soils.
The Bureau of Land Management has chosen a Cheyenne native to be the new associate state director for BLM Wyoming. BLM Wyoming State Director Don Simpson said Wednesday that Mary Jo Rugwell plans to report to the Wyoming state office in late August. He says Rugwell has an extensive background in management, renewable resources, wild horses, oil and gas, grazing, fire and recreation. Rugwell most recently was a district manager for the BLM's southern Nevada district office. She began her BLM career in 1984 at the Wyoming State Office in Cheyenne in the fluid minerals branch.