public lands

Stephanie Joyce

Newly minted Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke just took a massive step towards streamlining the permitting process for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Wyoming lawmakers love the move, but Democrats fear it’s a dangerous first step down a slippery slope.   

Public Lands in Wyoming
Bob Wick, BLM / Bureau of Land Management

Environmental groups filed a brief in federal court last Friday to halt oil and gas leasing on select public lands in Wyoming. They say development on that public land should stop there until the amount of greenhouse gases and their effect on the climate are fully understood.   

United States Department of the Interior

The Department of Interior is facing budget cuts of $1.6 billion. A summary of the proposed budget shows reductions in wildlife management while boosting funds for oil and gas development. Conservationists say this will have an effect here in Wyoming.

The proposed budget would reduce funding for endangered species, fisheries and wildlife management including almost $30 million less for sage grouse protection. It would also increase funds for programs ensuring oil and gas management while reducing permitting fees.

The Bureau of Land Management

Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on whether to scrap a Bureau of Land Management plan, known as the BLM Planning 2.0, that was recently adopted under the Obama administration.

Bureau of Land Management, Wikimedia Commons

A new public land transfer bill was filed this week by House Majority Floor Leader David Miller. The bill would allow the state to take over management of federal lands, and comes hard on the heels of a recently failed constitutional amendment that would also have given the state control over federal lands, an idea that’s been opposed by many sporting and outdoor recreation groups.

TYRA OLSTAD- Fossil Butte National Monument

A controversial constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to take over management of federal lands was killed late Friday afternoon by legislators who realized they did not have enough votes to pass it. 

The Select Committee on Federal Natural Resources said they drafted the proposed amendment as a way to protect public access to federal lands. House Majority Floor Leader David Miller said legal actions by other states could force Wyoming to take over public lands.

Melodie Edwards

A bill drafted for the legislature that proposed to revise Wyoming's constitution to allow the state to take over management of federal lands, has died. The idea was intensely controversial and today Senator Eli Bebout withdrew the legislation. 

Droves of hunters, anglers and hikers turned out for anti-land transfer rallies in recent months wearing stickers that read, “Keep It Public, Wyoming!” 

Bureau of Land Management

On Monday night, about 20 legislators met with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation to discuss an alternative to a proposed public land transfer bill. The amendment is scheduled for introduction at the legislature and would allow the state to take over federal land management from agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Wallpaperslot.com

Last week, both Wyoming’s U.S. Congressman Liz Cheney and the new pick for Interior Secretary, Montana Representative Ryan Zinke, both voted yes on a bill that would make it easier for congress to hand over federal lands to states. The amendment strips public lands of their value by allowing Congress to ignore the potential revenue those lands might get from timber, grazing, mining or drilling.

Grand Teton National Park Foundation

At a bipartisan celebration today in Grand Teton National Park, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, serving the Obama administration, and Governor Matt Mead, a Republican, praised a deal to protect park land from commercial development.

Secretary Jewell praised the more than 5,000 private donors who contributed $23 million dollars in just eight months to allow the National Park Service to buy state land.

Melanie Arnett

 

 

Naysayers packed into a legislative meeting Wednesday to express disapproval of a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide guidance to the state in the event that federal lands are transferred to the state. The meeting was meant to clarify language in the amendment and no vote was actually cast.

 

Committee Chairman Tim Stubson said he's voted against such bills in the past, but this one is different.

 

Bureau of Land Management

A new rule proposed by the Bureau of Land Management could cut years off of lengthy land use planning debate. The agency said “Planning 2.0” would streamline procedures that have taken up to eight years in the past.

A major component of the initiative includes more opportunities for early public involvement, rather than later on when the agency has already spent years working on a plan.

U.S. Forest Service

A Wyoming conservation group has released a report describing what they call a calculated and incremental approach to transferring federal public lands into state control. The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s report says there have been an increasing number of land transfer bills in recent years, not just in Wyoming but around the West.

WOC's Steff Kessler says supporters of the legislation want local control of federal lands, but she says that’s not what would happen.

Wyoming Wildlife Federation

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering two bills that could put up millions of acres of National Forest lands for state control. The bills are being debated by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands.

A poll conducted by Colorado College reveals that 73% of Wyoming voters think of themselves as conservationists. Program coordinator Brendan Boepple says polled residents also believe that public lands support the state’s economy and that they should not be sold to alleviate deficits.

A new National Wildlife Federation Poll shows that protecting public lands and addressing climate change is big for those who hunt and fish.   Given a choice between protecting America’s public lands and prioritizing the production of oil, gas and coal, 49 percent want to protect public lands and just 35 percent choose fossil fuel production.   John Gale of the Wildlife Federation says maintaining and improving access to public lands also ranked high on the priority list.