Why Is It Important to Assess Energy Resources in the WLCI Region?
Southwest Wyoming has abundant energy resources in the form of oil and gas, coal, coalbed methane, and wind. However, energy resource development is accompanied by substantial disturbance, both through the extraction process itself and the supporting infrastructure (roads, storage tanks, pipes). This disturbance can impact wildlife species in many ways, including habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, impeding or disrupting seasonal migration patterns, and reduced water quality and quantity to name a few. Future effects of energy development in southwest Wyoming will depend on the energy resources developed and their locations. For this reason, it is critically important to identify areas in the WLCI region where energy resource development is active as well as those areas most likely to be developed in the future. Geologists from the USGS Energy Resources Program assessed energy resources within the WLCI region. To identify the regions where energy resources are most likely to be developed, we applied a geologic understanding to emerging patterns of extraction for each energy commodity and assessed the potential for undiscovered resources.