Linda Cooper honored for anti-drilling work
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: November 13, 2012
Bondurant resident Linda Cooper has been named citizen of the year by the Wyoming chapter of the Wildlife Society for her efforts to organize a buyout of 58,000 acres of gas leases in Sublette County.
Cooper will receive her award today at the Wildlife Society’s annual meeting in Laramie.
Nearly eight years ago, Cooper founded the nonprofit Stop the Drilling — Save Bridger-Teton. Stop the Drilling achieved its goal Oct. 5 when the Trust for Public Land stepped in to complete an $8.75 million buyout of leases in the Noble Basin.
“We created this organization for the purpose of keeping drilling out of the Noble Basin,” Cooper said Monday.
“There was just a million reasons why there was concern. It was wildlife, it was water quality, it was air quality. At the time, the Pinedale Anticline was go-ing full force.”
Bryan Bedrosian, president of the Wildlife Society’s Wyoming chapter, said the buyout of leases owned by Plains Exploration and Production Company, known as PXP, will be a boon for wildlife. That’s the reason Cooper was chosen as the citizen of the year, he said.
“Cooper convinced key senators, governors, agencies, oil company administrators and community members to all agree on a complex buyout deal for the PXP project area in order to maintain the Nobel Basin and Wyoming Range as wild and scenic,” Bedrosian said in a statement. “The project area serves an important ecological area, including wildlife habitat for moose, pronghorn and sage grouse, as well as providing a great hunting and fishing location.”
Although Cooper’s organization was founded primarily to oppose the well-publicized leases owned by Plains Exploration and Production, she said there is work yet to be done in the Wyo-ming Range.
She mentioned the “44-7,” a term applied to 44,700 acres of gas land that could still be developed near Merna.
“We stopped the PXP problem, and now the next thing is the 44-7,” Cooper said.
Eventually, Cooper said, “I would like to put us out of business.
“In the meanwhile I’m headed off to Laramie and I’ll accept my award with a big smile on my face.”