At the 24 Hours of Utah race this month there will be a 10 member 100k team representing the Western Energy Project. We spoke with team captain Laurel Angell to find out what their mission is. Laurel is the director of the Western Energy Project, a small iniative working to ensure responsible energy development on federal public lands with representatives in Washington DC, Colorado, and Montana. The trails we run on for the 24 Hours of Utah and Arches National Park learned a very important “look before you lease” lesson when they controversially had to pull drilling leases from the oil and gas industry to prevent destruction of the areas, this resulted in Moab becoming ground zero for public policies.
The Western Energy Project is not anti-development or drilling but they do believe it needs to be well done. They are working to keep public lands available not only to enjoy, but for local and regional economies to thrive. The project currently develops and implements strategic campaigns; provides policy expertise; provides targeted capacity support of western conservation organizations and advocates; and builds strategic alliances among a diverse array of allies such as sportsmen, farmers, ranchers, small businesses, public officials and issue experts; and cultivates, and gives a forum to, voices that reflect the diversity of the West and broad support for conservation.
More than one race team member has worked as a park ranger and they use events like this to keep their connection to the trails that they’re working so hard to protect. Their mission to facilitate progress and implement policies to protect our trails is truly a noble one, give them a cheer when you see them come into base camp at the race!