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PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP) – About 40 members of the Earth First! environmental group took over a U.S. Bureau of Land Management office to protest oil and gas development on public lands in Wyoming.

The occupation Monday afternoon lasted about three hours. It ended peacefully after local BLM managers agreed to a statement saying the agency agreed that the environment was more important than economic profit and that it would pursue environmentally sensitive energy sources.

“I felt the statement was something that I could agree to,” said BLM field manager Prill Mecham.

The group left peacefully, and no arrests were made, Mecham said.

According to the Sublette Examiner, the public was blocked from entering the building during the protest because of protesters locking themselves to doors.

The group occupied many of the offices in the building, reclining on the floor, sitting in chairs and filling the hallways throughout the building. Some danced and sang.

Protester Kristin Painter of Jackson said Earth First! is concerned about the destruction she is sure will ensue from drilling, including depletion of water wells, a decrease in water quality and the creation of a matrix of roads.

“They are handing out permits like candy,” protester Mike Bowersox told the Sublette Examiner.

Mecham said she was shocked by the protesters converging on the building.

However, subsequent negotiations between the group and BLM officials were not confrontational, she said.

“I thought it was a very constructive session, actually,” Mecham said.

The statement the two sides agreed to stated: “We agree that the long-term environmental health is more important than economic gains. We agree that development of environmentally sensitive energy sources is a priority and we are willing to work together toward these goals.”

While some of the protesters agreed to sign the statement, many others refused, calling it “a joke,” but peacefully left the building, the Sublette Examiner reported.

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