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The opening spread for the article, “All Fired Up,” about coal bed methane drilling, from the July, 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine, featuring Joel Sartore’s photographs.

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Aerials of the Jonah Field in the Green River Basin, Wyoming. A once-wild area that’s now an industrial zone due to natural gas drilling. Sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn antelope habitat has mostly been ruined here, with no end in sight as the drilling increases across the Pinedale Anticline, the large mesa that caps the gas deposits.

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Aerials of the Jonah Field in the Green River Basin, Wyoming. A once-wild area that’s now an industrial zone due to natural gas drilling. Sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn antelope habitat has mostly been ruined here, with no end in sight as the drilling increases across the Pinedale Anticline, the large mesa that caps the gas deposits.

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An aerial of the Bowden natural gas drilling area along the MIlk river northeast of Malta, Montana.

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Aerial of the Bowdoin natural gas drilling area northeast of Malta, Montana.

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Workers observe water spilling from a gas well in Wyoming.

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A worker samples water and drilling mud coming from a rig at a coal bed methane drill site near Buffalo, WY. The fluid goes to a pond and at this well, it is recirculated.

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A worker samples water and drilling mud coming from a rig at a coal bed methane drill site near Buffalo, WY. The fluid goes to a pond and at this well, it is recirculated.

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Water and drilling mud spill from a rig near Buffalo, WY. At this site, the fluid is recirculated after it settles in the pond shown here.

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A worker samples water and drilling mud coming from a rig at a coal bed methane drill site near Buffalo, WY. The fluid goes to a pond and at this well, it is recirculated.

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A horse and a dog on a ranch near a gas drilling area near Aztec, NM.

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A rancher and his cattle among polluting gas drilling equipment near Aztec, NM.

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A branding of cattle in Gillette, Wyoming, where the branding is considered a social event.

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A branding of cattle in Gillette, Wyoming, where the branding is considered a social event.

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During a break from branding cattle at a ranch in Gillette, Wyoming, a woman holds her husband as he drinks a beer.

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Buffalo, Wyoming’s Bureau of Land Management employees do an “on-site” inspection of several private and public land site on which the BLM has the mineral rights but lease them out. “On-sites” are a formal step in which land owners, energy interests and BLM biologists, engineers and others inspect an area that is about the be bulldozed and developed or drilled.

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Inside the “Well File Room” at the Farmington Bureau of Land Management Office, where some 18,000 wells are tracked from the San Juan Basin. It has more wells than most other areas, and the office’s mandate is to get oil and gas production going full throttle at all costs.

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Inside the “Well File Room” at the Farmington Bureau of Land Management Office, where some 18,000 wells are tracked from the San Juan Basin. It has more wells than most other areas, and the office’s mandate is to get oil and gas production going full throttle at all costs.

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A legal instruments examiner for the Bureau of Land Management in Pinedale, Wyoming is shown behind a mountain of applications for permit to drill submitted by oil and gas companies. This office grants most of the 300 applications they receive each year.

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Bureau of Land Management employees from the Buffalo, Wyoming office pose with a year’s worth of paperwork. The office has been ordered to approve at least 3,000 permits to drill per year and issues far more permits to drill than any other in the U.S. The goal is 50,000 wells.

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Bureau of Land Management employees from the Buffalo, Wyoming office pose with a year’s worth of paperwork. The office has been ordered to approve at least 3,000 permits to drill per year and issues far more permits to drill than any other in the U.S. The goal is 50,000 wells.

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A dead sage grouse lies near a lek of 69 birds in Pinedale, Wyoming. Although this Big Sandy Recreation Area is still intact and pristine, no one can say for how long, as it has been targeted for drilling. The grouse are candidates for being listed but energy interests now prohibit it.

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A large sage grouse lek of 69 birds in Pinedale, Wyoming. Although this Big Sandy Recreation Area is still intact and pristine, no one can say for how long, as it has been targeted for drilling.

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A large sage grouse lek of 69 birds in Pinedale, Wyoming. Although this Big Sandy Recreation Area is still intact and pristine, no one can say for how long, as it has been targeted for drilling.

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A large sage grouse lek of 69 birds in Pinedale, Wyoming. Although this Big Sandy Recreation Area is still intact and pristine, no one can say for how long, as it has been targeted for drilling.

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A large sage grouse lek of 69 birds in Pinedale, Wyoming. Although this Big Sandy Recreation Area is still intact and pristine, no one can say for how long, as it has been targeted for drilling.

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Pronghorn antelope in Jonah Field on the Pinedale Anticline, a geologic uplift of sage and grass that provides critical winter range to both antelope and mule deer. This field is being drilled for gas at an alarming rate and is one of the heaviest examples of drilling anywhere.

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Pronghorn antelope in Jonah Field on the Pinedale Anticline, a geologic uplift of sage and grass that provides critical winter range to both antelope and mule deer. This field is being drilled for gas at an alarming rate and is one of the heaviest examples of drilling anywhere.

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Pronghorn antelope in Jonah Field on the Pinedale Anticline, a geologic uplift of sage and grass that provides critical winter range to both antelope and mule deer. This field is being drilled for gas at an alarming rate and is one of the heaviest examples of drilling anywhere.

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Pronghorn antelope in Jonah Field on the Pinedale Anticline, a geologic uplift of sage and grass that provides critical winter range to both antelope and mule deer. This field is being drilled for gas at an alarming rate and is one of the heaviest examples of drilling anywhere.

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Pronghorn antelope in Jonah Field on the Pinedale Anticline, a geologic uplift of sage and grass that provides critical winter range to both antelope and mule deer. This field is being drilled for gas at an alarming rate and is one of the heaviest examples of drilling anywhere.

Photo: Julie Jensen Director of Marketing | WVC O: 866.800.7326 | D: 702.443.9249 | E: j.jensen@wvc.org

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