It’s been a busy end of the summer for the Keep it Public, Wyoming coalition. Events in Laramie and Jackson together brought out some 600 people—a testament to how important public lands are to our quality of life and economy in Wyoming. These events and another upcoming one in Sheridan on September 30 are working.
We are not likely to see legislative attempts at the wholesale transfer of our public lands anytime soon. Thanks to engaged citizens like you, these lawmakers have gotten the message loud and clear. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other equally bad ideas. One, the Federal Lands Freedom Act H.R 3565, co-sponsored by our own Rep. Liz Cheney would turn over decisions about oil and gas leasing and permitting on BLM and national forest lands to the states. Bills like this one would be disastrous for recreation, wildlife, and balanced multiple uses of our public lands. The states could override the current multiple use mandate on our public lands in favor of drilling and other industrial uses. We will continue to track bad bills like this and offer ways for you to voice your opposition.
The Keep it Public, Wyoming coalition has drafted state-level legislation that we hope will find sponsors and pass this session. The bill states that “efforts to transfer large tracts of the federal public lands in this State into private or state control are contrary to the wishes of Wyoming people and the democratic values of freedom and access that define our Equality State.” It would also dedicate a new Wyoming state holiday: Public Lands Day to highlight the importance of public lands to the state, encourage volunteer stewardship activities and encourage schools to participate with a day off as a hunting and outdoor recreation day for our state’s school-age children.