One more environmental nonprofit group has moved to Bozeman, joining 36 already here.
On Monday, the Western Values Project, a self-described oil-and-gas industry watchdog, announced the opening of offices in Bozeman and Denver.
The organization’s announcement said it would represent “western values” in the public debate surrounding oil and gas issues, which it said are “too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in Congress.” The group said it also wants to hold government and industry accountable for decisions involving public land.
Director Ross Lane said the decision to launch the organization now has nothing to do with the upcoming 2014 election.
“As our political leaders are heading back to Washington, D.C., we’re looking at a budget battle and they’re talking about cutting more programs,” Lane said. “But there are oil and gas subsidies that we fund every year, even though they have record-breaking profits. We want to make sure everything is on the table.”
Such an organization may seem out of place in the Gallatin Valley, where few oil or gas leases exist, but Lane said the organization doesn’t intend to lock up lands or enter the courtroom. The focus, he said, will be providing information for people to make up their own minds about limiting oil and gas production.
“In the Bakken, the best use of public lands may be drilling,” Lane said. “But near areas of natural beauty, like Glacier or along the Front Range… they need to be conserved.”