Letter to the Editor

10 October 2016

Forest has been protected from exploration of oil, gas and other natural resources and still remains untouched by humans but imagine the natural resources that could be hidden in this expansive wilderness. As with any proposed development there will be risks involved which is why a risk assessment would be necessary to keep the public safe by taking time to identify potential hazards, evaluate the risk of exposure and how it could potentially affect anyone who could be exposed.

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Once a hazard has been identified the steps involved in a risk assessment help gather more information about who has been exposed, the health effects of exposure and what can be done to resolve the issue. After the information about exposure has been analyzed then those involved in the risk assessment can decide the best way to resolve the issue without putting anyone at risk.

By finding this important information it helps those involved in the risk management set priorities based on the threat of hazards and make sure the right preventative measures are taken to protect the public and habitat against the risk of exposure. Even though there are risks involved there are also advantages in developing this land, exploration and drilling on land is much safer and less riskier than off shore drilling. Exploration wells, drilling sites and oil transportation could potentially bring more jobs to the area and given the state of our economy this could be a great opportunity for the local economy.

By using our own natural resources available we could free up some of the need for foreign oil and gas by using what we have available within the United States, although this is not an immediate solution it would provide a long term fix for gas prices and gas production in the future. In conclusion, I am not stating we need to develop the entire Bridger Teton National Forest but we can utilize some of the natural resources available and protect our environmental sustainability at the same time. Conservationists believe in the use of natural resources while being careful and respectful of using our natural resources at the same time.

The Teton National Forest is the largest intact eco system in the lower 48 states that remains untouched by humans and many in our community would like to keep it that way. This land is more valuable to preserve and should be protected from being used for exploration of natural resources, on the other hand there are people that feel this expansive wilderness should be used to explore the natural resources available. We need to protect Teton National Forest from potentially dangerous hazards that could come from exploration and development for oil, natural gas and other natural resources.

We have alternative ways to obtain the same resources and should focus our efforts on finding new alternatives for our non-renewable resources. Researchers argue that we could tap into these natural resources and still be environmentally friendly but there are risks involved that we should be aware of. Exploration and drilling for oil could lead to drill sites, oil transportation and potential oil spills that could result in environmental issues such as pollution and exposure to hazardous materials. By considering all potential risks involved and educating those around us we can help keep our community safe.

Many people come to Bridger Teton National Forest to enjoy hiking, biking, camping, fishing, sightseeing and many other recreational activities this natural land provides. For some it is a great escape from daily life where you can come to get away from it all, imagine how different things would be sitting on top of the hill after a long hike and looking across the expansive landscape to see a drill site in the distance. An exploration of oil would not only affect outdoor recreational use of the forest but threaten wildlife by disrupting forest species and animals out of their natural habitat.

All species exposed to the development area could be exposed to hazardous chemicals and pollutants that go hand in hand with oil drill sites. In closing, by preserving Teton National Forest and continuing to protect the land from drilling and exploration of natural resources we can keep it intact for our future generations. We need to come together as a community and stand up for what is right, we have a voice and need to continue to protect this valuable land that is our home! Sincerely, James Fraley A concerned citizen and preservationist

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