I know, I know… legislation that works? No doubt you’re as sore as we are from the political whupping playing out on every public media channel known to man and given the tenor of those commercials, the LAST thing you’re apt to believe is that there’s something coming out of Washington that is working.
But stranger things have happened, my friend, and in this case, it’s true. Really.
Last week we were pleased to hear about the Trust for Public Lands buying out 58,000 acres of oil and gas leases from Plains Exploration and Production Co. in the Wyoming Range, a unique swath of land in western Wyoming, home to irreplaceable big game herds, native fish and the irreplaceable type of habitat that supports big game and native fish. Without sounding like too much of a sap, it’s place with soul – or rather, a place that still retains it’s soul – depending on if you’re a glass half full or half empty type.
The buyout was made possible by a piece of legislation strongly supported by Trout Unlimited and sportsmen across the West called the Wyoming Range Legacy Act.
The historic bill permanently protected 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range from future oil and gas development. The act also allowed individuals and organizations to buy and retire some 75,000 acres in the Bridger-Teton National Forest already leased for oil and gas development if the lease holders are willing sellers.
In other words – and here’s the important part – market-based solutions for balancing conservation and oil and gas development
Consider it the sportsmen’s version of having their cake and eating it too. So folks, here’s to the Wyoming Range. May it be forever wild.