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WYO Range Legacy Act Lands on the President’s Desk

March 26, 2009

Daniel, WY – The last big hurdle has been cleared for the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. Made up of more than 160 separate bills, including the Wyoming legislation, the omnibus legislation designates more than two million acres of new federally protected wilderness, nationwide.

The Legacy Act withdraws undeveloped land from future oil and gas leasing, while honoring or buying out current leases.
In Daniel, outfitter Gary Amerine founded the group Citizens Protecting the Wyoming Range when he saw that lands for hunting, fishing and camping on the Range were in a "forced retreat" from advancing oil and gas leasing. Many people warned him it would be impossible to obtain wilderness designation, he says.

"It just shows people - if they're sincere, and they have a legitimate concern - that you can get things done."

Amerine says government scientists have determined the area is hardly a hot spot for oil and gas.

"We're talking a very minimal amount of resource – a few hours' worth of oil and a couple weeks of natural gas. Is it really worth destroying an area?"

The Legacy Act was originally introduced by Wyoming's two senators. Its opponents have said limiting new oil and gas development could make the country more dependent on foreign fuel supplies.

The package of bills approved by Congress creates new wilderness areas in nine states, and President Obama has said he will sign it.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY