By Molly Messick
Laramie, WY – The governor's office and conservationists are praising the Bureau of Land Management's decision to rescind oil and gas leases on nearly 24 thousand acres in the Wyoming Range. The offering of those leases and others in the range in 2005 and 2006 has been contested. The lease offerings were part of the motivation for the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, passed by Congress earlier this year. Lisa McGee of the Wyoming Outdoor Council says this is an issue of finding balance between development and conservation.
"This is a place where citizens from the very beginning said, "not here." Enough is enough. And we have to set some boundaries. We have to figure out what balance means for the state of Wyoming. And the Wyoming Range is one of the special places that deserves to be set aside."
21 thousand acres leased during the same period remain contested. McGee says those leases could be canceled after a new environmental review.