Lawmakers Begin Debate On Possible Land Deal

Feb 26, 2020

Credit Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

Both the Wyoming House and Senate began discussing the possible purchase of a million acres of surface land and four million acres of mineral rights. Legislative leaders said the goal is to establish ground rules that could make such a purchase possible. 

Concerns ranged from the cost of the asset to how such a purchase could impact counties who currently receive tax revenue from the land. House Appropriations Chairman Bob Nicholas said it's an investment that must have the same return as other state investments.

"So if it doesn't return at least four or four and a half percent we're not interested, if this not a good prudent investment, there is no reason to do this. And we simply don't know if that's true or not, but there is an indication that it will make that or more," said Nicholas.

Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss said it's worth looking into. "Find out the details, enter into a negotiation, and see. See if it is of benefit to the people of the state of Wyoming, or see if it something too rich for us, too risky for us," said Rothfuss.

Both the House and Senate voted to move the bill forward. It will be debated two more times by each body.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Bob Beck, at btwo@uwyo.edu.