Federal land

You may not have heard of PILT payments, but they’re pretty important for local economies in areas like the Mountain West.  The federal government gives these 'payments in lieu of taxes' to counties with federal lands that can't earn regular tax revenue.  

Supreme Court, State of Wyoming

The Wyoming Supreme Court says a mineral rights case involving overlapping federal leases in the Powder River Basin cannot be resolved without intervention from a federal agency. The court is now sending it back to a Wyoming district court.

U.S. Forest Service

A study requested by the Wyoming Legislature has found that transferring management of public lands from the federal government to the state would not be revenue positive. Those who support state management of public lands have argued it would increase revenue for the state by encouraging resource development. 

The state paid the Jackson-based Y-2 Consultants $75,000 to examine land management practices, costs and revenues. Almost half of Wyoming is federal land and resource development and recreation on that land is critical to Wyoming’s economy.

Keep It Public, Wyoming Facebook Page

The group Keep it Public, Wyoming is hosting a rally November 5 to protest public lands being transferred from the federal government to the state.

There's no clear legal path forward for states who want to transfer federal lands into state management, according to a new report by the Conference of Western Attorneys General, chaired by Wyoming's attorney general Peter Michael.

The report looked at several legal strategies proposed by Wyoming, Utah and other states, like the argument that eastern and western states should have an equal percentage of public lands, or that the federal government can't hold lands indefinitely. 

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.

Stephanie Joyce

How much should climate change factor into decisions about coal mining on federal land? 

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A bill that would set up a committee to look into the possibility of the state transferring, acquiring, and managing federal lands has been given initial approval in the Wyoming Senate.

That's despite questions about the goal of the committee and whether the effort is worthwhile.   Senator John Schiffer wanted more clarification on what the committee is supposed to actually accomplish.