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Wyoming joins forces with Utah to fight BLM public lands rule

Clouds gather over a group of buildings in a field
David Dudley
Wyoming public Media
A storm gathers over public lands situated to the north of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on June 17, 2024.

This story is part of our Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

The states of Wyoming and Utah have filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court of Utah, alleges that the BLM's public lands rule violates the National Environmental Policy Act. That rule was pushed through without a proper review, and without sufficient public input, according to attorneys for the state of Wyoming.

Gov. Mark Gordon said he's been against the rule since its first draft was proposed in spring 2023. In a written statement, Gordon called the BLM's rule an attempt to "eliminate multiple use through a corrupted definition of conservation." In many cases throughout Wyoming, multiple use includes grazing and energy leasing.

The BLM said the rule was designed to establish a foundation to protect and restore public lands from degradation, among other threats. They called the public comment period one of the longest in recent history, including "216,403 Tribes, state and local governments, industry groups, advocacy organizations and members of the public who voiced their opinions on the proposed rule."

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

David Dudley is an award-winning journalist who has written for The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, High Country News, WyoFile, and the Wyoming Truth, among many others. David was a Guggenheim Crime in America Fellow at John Jay College from 2020-2023. During the past 10 years, David has covered city and state government, business, economics and public safety beats for various publications. He lives in Cheyenne with his family.

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