Drilling for natural gas has tripled in the past few years. Wildlife populations near the wells are taking a hit, according to this story from cnn.com

On a June morning, standing in the middle of one of Wyoming’s largest gas fields, Brian Rutledge, a wildlife biologist and the executive director of the Audubon Society of Wyoming, surveys acres of endless sage brush and rigs in the distance.

“These lands are some of the last vestiges of the American West we have, home to hundreds of species who won’t survive if their habitat is fragmented by rigs,” he said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone. A boom goes bust eventually.”

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Is getting cheaper gas now worth the future cost to the land?’ “

The article’s a nice overview of the challenges of preservation vs. development happening everywhere that hasn’t already been paved over by people. In the U.S. we’ve managed to off-shore a lot of environmental degradation by moving so much manufacturing to China, but this is a big country with plenty more resources left to tap. Some folks might be comforted with the knowledge that the environmental movement will keep after heavy industry but there are only so many people available and they have to pick their battles with an eye toward how they can raise the most money. Places low on the radar screen in Wyoming are easily overlooked.