Barrasso introduces Wyoming Range Legacy Act of 2007
Senator Barrasso during a recent visit to the Wyoming Range. Photo courtesy Senator Barrasso's office.
Bill to protect over a million acres from future oil and gas leasing
by Senator Barrasso’s office
October 25, 2007
(Washington) - A signature mountain range, named for the Great State of Wyoming, will receive protection for Wyoming sportsmen and visitors to hunt, fish, and experience its grandeur, cowboys to graze cattle and next generations to be inspired by the spirit of wild Wyoming, under legislation U.S. Senator John Barrasso introduced today.
The Wyoming Range Legacy Act of 2007 will protect more than 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range by prohibiting future oil and gas leasing, while allowing a buy-out process that respects the property rights of current leaseholders who can sell their leases for voluntary purchase.
“The Wyoming Range represents the heart and soul of our state – independent, still wild, rugged, and a wonder for those that come from all over to experience it,” Barrasso said. “Energy development will always be a pillar of our economy, especially in partnership with recreation and tourism – vital to our quality of life in Wyoming. We achieve that partnership by working to enhance the traditional economic base of the Wyoming Range.”
Gov. Dave Freudenthal said, “This is a big step forward and I'm delighted. I commend the Senator for the steps he's taking for Wyoming.”
The Wyoming Range legislation was a dream of the late U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, who unfortunately passed days before he could introduce the bill.
“What we do today is join in the memory of our friend Craig Thomas to finish his work to keep and enhance the tourism, recreation, grazing, hunting and sportsmen economy of the Wyoming Range and forever preserve it as a key part of Wyoming's natural heritage,” Barrasso said.
To be clear, Barrasso added, this is not a bill that locks up land. “To the contrary, this is a bill for the economic prosperity of the recreation and tourism industry,” Barrasso said. “What we do today is to recognize an economic base and enhance it.”
“Let us see the big picture in this bill – what was the last bold move for Wyoming Tourism? I proudly say -- 1.2 million acres for Wyoming Tourism, for Wyoming sportsmen and for Wyoming outfitters and guides, cowboys and cowgirls – all of whom contribute millions to our economy,” Barrasso said.
The Wyoming Range Legacy Act, S. 2229, does not include any of the currently producing areas within the withdrawal boundary. The bill allows the remaining leases to be voluntarily purchased, presumably by conservation groups, in order to retire the leases.
For the contested leases that amount to some 44,000 acres, Barrasso said, “I know there is an administrative process in place to address those. I have confidence that all sides will be able to work out a creative solution. And I encourage all of the interested parties and stakeholders to stay at the negotiating table until those issues can be resolved,” Barrasso said.
“We all know that poster ‘God Bless Wyoming and Keep It Wild.’ That phrase keeps going through my mind, and I feel especially proud today. People in Wyoming are looking for some balance. So yes, ‘God Bless Wyoming and Keep It Wild’,” he said.
Audio and video of the senator’s floor speech, as well as the map, will be available on his web site at http://barrasso.senate.gov.
U.S. Senator John Barrasso’s radio interview with Bob Rule, of KPIN Radio in Pinedale, can be found at the link below and includes the following topics:
• Wyoming Range Legacy Act
• Senator Barrasso’s First 100 Days
• Illegal Immigration