Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas plans to
introduce legislation as soon as next month that would block future energy leasing in the Wyoming Range. Cameron Hardy is spokesman for Thomas in Washington, D-C. Hardy says today (Tuesday) that workers on the senator's staff are meeting with energy company officials in Wyoming this week about the legislation. Hardy says the senator's legislation would not address current leases. But he says it would leave open the possibility that the state government or conservation groups could try to buy out existing energy company leases to retire them. Governor Dave Freudenthal calls Thomas' plans to introduce the legislation great news. The governor has expressed concerns in the past about development pressures on the Wyoming Range. Tom Reed is Wyoming field representative for Trout Unlimited and a spokesman for the group Sportsmen for the Wyoming Range. He says he believes that his group could raise money for lease buyouts. Bruce Hinchey is president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. He says he can't comment on the senator's legislation without knowing exactly what areas the leasing ban would cover.