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Group Aims for Conservation, Energy Development Balance

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MISSOULA -

A conservation group is traveling nearly 1,700 miles across the country promoting balance between land conservation and oil and gas development.

The "Road to Equal Ground" RV tour kicked off Thursday in Missoula, with a roundtable discussion with local conservation groups.

Tour leaders said traditionally, there's been bipartisan support for balance between conservation and energy development.

However, they said in recent years, for every three acres of public land leased to oil and gas companies, only one acre is conserved.

Trevor Kincaid, of the Center for Western Priorities said, "Energy development is so important, especially meeting those domestic needs, not only for national security, but for a variety of reasons, but we need to do it in the right way, in a way that balances the concerns of other industries and other businesses."

The conservation group will collect stories from conservation and wildlife advocates in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

They said their goal is to urge the White House and Congress to protect valuable open space in the western U.S.

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