public lands

Sublette County

After a heated and lengthy meeting last Tuesday, the Sublette County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 against the construction of a luxury resort in the small ranching community of Bondurant. The resort would have required a change in local zoning rules, with 43 acres of agricultural land reclassified as recreational.

The Great American Outdoors Act has passed the Senate with solid bipartisan support – but bipartisan doesn’t mean unanimous. A group of 73 voted yes while 25 voted no, including all of the senators from public land-heavy Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.


barrasso.senate.gov

Wyoming's senators spent the week fighting a bill that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with funding a portion of the maintenance backlog at national parks across the nation.

A bill to permanently fund conservation efforts and reduce maintenance backlogs across public lands will soon be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Bureau of Land Management is charging back-due rent on renewable energy projects on public lands, as the Department of Interior simultaneously works to give oil and gas operators financial relief.

The Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 18 million acres of public land in Wyoming. Out of that, close to 11 million acres are leased for oil and gas production.

Runner1928 via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A 4,350-acre parcel of land on the Wyoming-South Dakota border is now protected as state land. The property is in the western Black Hills and improves access to more than 8,000 acres of adjacent public land in the two states.

A National Wildlife Federation report published this week says new oil and gas leases on public lands could harm existing hunting economies in the West.


Ken Lund via CC BY-SA 2.0

In an unexpected move, Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed a bill that would have laid the groundwork for a major land and mineral rights deal between Wyoming and Occidental Petroleum.

A new government watchdog report published Wednesday says taxpayers are shouldering the burden of cleaning up the nation’s thousands of abandoned hardrock mines on public lands.

Tufts University

Federal lands are much better at reducing habitat loss and protecting endangered species than private lands, according to a new study out this week by researchers at Tufts University and the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.

Online GIS Maps; Cooper McKim

Wyoming legislators are working through two bills that would lay the groundwork to study and potentially buy over a million acres of land and four million acres of mineral rights across the southern part of the state.

The 1,010,900 acres of land in question sits within six Wyoming counties: Lincoln, Uinta, Carbon, Albany, Laramie, and Sweetwater. Local officials are beginning to grapple with the potential risks and rewards of the deal.

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. 

Bob Beck

Wyoming lawmakers continue working on a bill that would allow the state to look into purchasing a million acres of land in southern Wyoming.  

The swath of one million acres of land in southern Wyoming is currently owned by Occidental Petroleum and doesn't include any private or federal land.

Governor Mark Gordon announced this week that Wyoming is looking to buying a million acres of land across southern Wyoming and surrounding states along with 4 million acres of mineral rights.

halfuur / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Park County will soon have a natural resources management plan for its federal and state lands, and is inviting the public to participate in a steering committee that will help shape the plan. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The State of Wyoming is working on a massive land deal that would involve one million square acres across southern Wyoming.

Listen to this story here.

After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal Monday, and a significant cut to the Department of Interior is on the table.

The Trump administration wants to cut funding for all but one agency within the Interior, for a 16% overall reduction.

The nation’s largest known lithium deposit is here in the Mountain West. As demand for electric vehicles grows — and with it demand for lithium, used to make EV batteries — one company hopes to harvest the mineral from that deposit in Northern Nevada.

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

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking to open access on public lands for more recreation opportunities.

New legislation introduced in the U.S. House Thursday would make it easier for conservation groups to remove cattle and sheep from federal lands. 

Savannah Maher

Karen Zoller's two rescue dogs, Macy and Izza, love to run and explore. So, she takes them to public trails around Fremont County where she can let them off leash.

The Trump administration has spent the past month announcing sweeping changes that could benefit ranchers on public lands, including a proposal to overhaul grazing regulations for the first time in 25 years. 

After a long hiatus, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind regulations on hydraulic fracturing on public lands is moving forward. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to hear oral arguments in January after prominent conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, filed suit in 2018.

The U.S. military is asking Congress for control over more public land in Nevada, and much of that could come at the expense of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska.

That has the state of Nevada, environmentalists and tribes all stepping up to condemn the proposal.

A new white paper from the non-profit Headwaters Economics says transferring public lands from the federal government to Western states would generate more revenue, but also comes with high economic costs.

Reintroduced legislation incentivizing more renewable energy projects on public lands is getting rare bipartisan support.

A government watchdog on Wednesday filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management to find out why it hired a one-time, anti-public lands advocate to run the agency. 

Bureau of Land Management


If you're anything like me, you've never been on an e-bike before. You might not even know what it looks like. That's why I make a visit to a local bike shop in downtown Laramie to find out what all the fuss is about. Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, as they're known, are having a moment. Right now they're the fastest growing segment of the country's bike market and that market could get even hotter now they're allowed on some public lands.

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