Wyoming State Lands Legislation

Ben Lamb

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The Wyoming Legislature doing great work to show just how bad it would be to transfer federally managed public land over to the states.

 

neffa3

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Wenatchee
For all the praise WY gets on this forum, I give more credit to the lack of people, and therefore the general lack of ability to make huge impacts, as the reason for their success. It isn't their policy. Best I can tell WY is trying hard to ruin it's water, air, and economy, all while lining the pockets of out of town developers.
 

Ben Lamb

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Wyoming Game & Fish is one of the best agencies out there. Their management on top of bountiful public lands is not to be confused with their legislature, which has changed substantially over the last 15 years.
 

neffa3

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Sure, but hunting and fishing isn't wholly dictated by the G&F. Not if there's no clean water, or every migration route has been roaded up or bull dozed under.
 
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Ben Lamb

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Only hippies & city slicker socialists care about habitat.

God fearing cowboys know you can year the shit out of everything and it's all good so long as you can still get a tag.
 

mulecreek

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Rock Springs, WY
Sure, but hunting and fishing isn't wholly dictated by the G&F. Not if there's no clean water, or every migration route has been roaded up or bull dozed under.
It sure would be nice if we could just leave every acre of land in Wyoming untouched. Only problem is that is not realistic. Any more than "Earth First, we'll mine the other planets later" is realistic. The State has seen dramatic revenue losses from the demise of coal. Same issue is happening with O&G as price has dropped. Coal leasing, which had historically funded essentially all school capital requirements for decades, has all but dried up. I think my mine is that last new coal lease and it was tiny compared to prior PRB leases. The State understands it needs to gain revenue but it is met with strong opposition on every front. Any time a State income tax is proposed Wyo residents scream like mashed cats. Every time a new development on public land is proposed, sportsmen, conservation and environmental groups scream like mashed cats. Now the State wants to try to develop some State land and we are supposed to get pissed off about that.

I am not saying that i agree with this Bill. I would think that SLIB would be smart enough to identify suitable parcels of State land that have minimal resource value and market those accordingly without needing legislation to dictate they do so. But to say that Wyoming officials as a whole are hell bent on ripping up every square inch of Wyoming and air, water and migration routes be damned is horse shit. It is the answer you come to when you simply look at Wyoming's problems from the perspective of a guy that hunts out here every year or two and wants there little slice of heaven to remain untouched. When you actually have to run a State you might just find that you come to a very different answer.
 

neffa3

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Say no to clean drinking water.
Add more impacts to public lands:
No wildlife corridors

The wildlife is held in trust.... not at ransom.
 

Ben Lamb

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It sure would be nice if we could just leave every acre of land in Wyoming untouched. Only problem is that is not realistic. Any more than "Earth First, we'll mine the other planets later" is realistic. The State has seen dramatic revenue losses from the demise of coal. Same issue is happening with O&G as price has dropped. Coal leasing, which had historically funded essentially all school capital requirements for decades, has all but dried up. I think my mine is that last new coal lease and it was tiny compared to prior PRB leases. The State understands it needs to gain revenue but it is met with strong opposition on every front. Any time a State income tax is proposed Wyo residents scream like mashed cats. Every time a new development on public land is proposed, sportsmen, conservation and environmental groups scream like mashed cats. Now the State wants to try to develop some State land and we are supposed to get pissed off about that.

I am not saying that i agree with this Bill. I would think that SLIB would be smart enough to identify suitable parcels of State land that have minimal resource value and market those accordingly without needing legislation to dictate they do so. But to say that Wyoming officials as a whole are hell bent on ripping up every square inch of Wyoming and air, water and migration routes be damned is horse shit. It is the answer you come to when you simply look at Wyoming's problems from the perspective of a guy that hunts out here every year or two and wants there little slice of heaven to remain untouched. When you actually have to run a State you might just find that you come to a very different answer.
I'm a Wyoming native who lived there for over 25 years. 6 of those years (2002 - 2007 - with some work in 2012-13 in an advisory capacity) were spent working at the Legislature to pass things like the Wyoming Wildlife & Natural Resource Trust Account, energy issues, endangered species act issues, G&F funding sage grouse, elk mgt, predator management, etc. My father grew up in the Gas Hills, working in the uranium mills, which eventually killed him due to radiation exposure. My mother worked for Hotline Energy Reporting for Johnny Burton who went on to run MMS (and subsequently got caught up in the drugs & sex for oil scandal that rocked that division). I cut my teeth on the Two Elk project, researching the fraud that happened on that project, pushed back against Eli Bebout's plan to dump nuclear waste on public lands and even got my first death threats from some good old boys in the Big Horn Basin when it came to wolves.

I've stood on top of the Pinedale Anticline when it was still viable mule deer habitat and listened to industry tell me how much they loved Wyoming and were going to protect it, right before they switched their plans and raped the shit out of the Anticline, cratering the Wyoming Range mule deer herd. I've listened to politicians talk about how brain drain and the boom and bust economy set up by the extraction industry needs to be reformed, yet they never reform it and Wyoming continues to be a colony for energy extraction rather than self-determining in their own destiny. I've spent countless hours in appropriations and various committees working on issues in that state. I've seen coal execs pocket 7 figure bonuses while my cousins and uncles collected pink slips. I'm old enough to remember a former speaker of the house being caught dumping toxic waste on a parking lot (he now runs the Petroleum Assn of Wyoming). I grew up in Lander when it was still a cow town, lived in Casper and had membership privileges at the Petroleum Club when it was still around. My father used to be part of Mick McMurry's coffee club when he was still alive and was one of old man McMurry's close friends and confidants when he still ran the hot plant.

Not sure I'd call my self someone who isn't familiar with Wyoming's various challenges and shortcomings. Hell, I remember when you could see deer, elk and moose right outside of city park in Lander, and when Sheridan was affordable for working folks. Your post is very similar to those who never wanted to have that honest debate and simply looked to shut down the discussion relative to development and the lack of sideboards that industry has spent decades working towards.

This bill has no sideboards on it. It opens ALL state trust land to development, regardless of the highest and best use. It's a typical bill we've seen out of many state legislatures lately who are working to undermine the conservation pinnings that restored wildlife. The loss of revenue isn't something that happened overnight. Wyoming busts every decade. It's why the state enacted the PMTF and keeps the balance high enough to manage state expenses when revenues underperform.
 
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