Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

James Burchfield

Commitee Members

Daniel Spencer, Michael Patterson


coalbed methane, collabortation, conservation, ESA, grounded theory, opinions, powder river basin, ranchers, ranching, sage grouse, society, the ranching way of life, traditional knowledge, values


University of Montana


Coalbed methane development has proliferated across much of the western United States. Campbell County, Wyoming, in the Powder River Basin is one area that has seem some of the highest amounts of this development, most of it occurring on land where the surface use is livestock grazing, resulting in conflicts over resource use. This thesis takes a grounded theory approach to understanding the meaning that the ranchers that operate on this land have attached to this development. In doing so, this paper argues that these ranchers form opinions and attitudes based on how CBM has affected “the ranching way of life” and not simply on the perceived opportunity for economic gain. It also argues that although objections raised by this population to the listing the Greater Sage-Grouse as an endangered species are largely framed as objections to the way in which scientific conclusions are drawn, this may be more representative of embedded cultural viewpoints thereby making efforts to resolve this conflict through further scientific research, futile. This paper concludes that a more collaborative approach to issues surrounding CBM may have helped to avoid much of the conflict that characterizes this issue.



© Copyright 2008 Jonathan George Hayes