JACKSON — Relationships changed and unraveled. Promises proved empty. Attempts to massage scientific data bubbled up. Those elements all factored into the failure to develop a pronghorn-friendly gas field where Jackson Hole’s migratory animals winter, according to a scientific paper.
Scientists, who were bankrolled by industry with a $2 million tax-deductible donation to research the Pinedale Anticline’s pronghorn, say efforts to cooperatively conserve the population went awry because of power imbalances, changing relationships with and between agencies and industry, and a lack of transparency. The collaboration between the industry and conservation biologists largely fell apart a decade ago. Today the result is that pronghorn are increasingly avoiding infrastructure within and abandoning the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s largest natural gas field.