By Renny MacKay
Laramie, WY – A bill including protection for the Wyoming Range passed Congress Wednesday. Wyoming's Congressional delegation split over the bill. Both senators voted for it, while Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis remained opposed. She says she did not think the bill found the right balance between mineral development and land preservation.
Senator John Barrasso says a provision honoring existing leases in the Wyoming Range but preventing further leasing struck a good compromise.
"The bill doesn't stop any current development that's going on; it just says there's not going be any future exploration. So, the land is still going to multiple use for energy, but also for ranching, for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, all sorts of outdoor activities. And it's just such a spectacular place that does need to be protected for future generations."
This bill also designates parts of the Snake River and tributaries as a Wild and Scenic river. That protects land along the river and blocks dams from being built. Also in the bill is money to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves.