A bill that would allow the federal government to trade mineral rights and federal land for two parcels of state land inside Grand Teton National Park has passed the Wyoming Senate.
The swap is needed after the federal government backed out of a previous deal to pay the state for the two parcels. Laramie Senator Phil Nicholas added an amendment that the land would have to be mineral property with proven reserves, so that the swap is worthwhile for the state.
But Senator Leland Christensen of Jackson called that an amendment a poison pill that could jeopardize the trade. Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton disagreed.
"The language in here says if they are going to do minerals then they ought to do it on a real value rather than something that's pie in the sky. That's all we are saying. We are not trying to kill the deal, I just can't understand why we are going to take a 100 million dollar asset and trade it for something that we really don't know if it will develop into something in the future or not."
The Senate agreed with Christensen and removed the amendment. The bill passed and now goes to the House of Representatives for further debate.