Why can’t WY issue more coal leases in the Powder River Basin (PRB)? In part, because the federal gov’t claims that they own a vast amount of land and minerals in the PRB. In fact, the feds claim ownership of 48% of WY public lands and 67% of OUR minerals. Should Washington D.C. bureaucrats control half our state and our minerals, and thereby our jobs? NO! Let Wyomingites control their own lands, minerals and our own future!
The federal government likes to pretend that federal lands belong to “all of us” and that they are “your” national forests. But, of course, they are not “yours” or “ours” at all. The fact that federal lands were closed with armed guards stationed at the entrances during the last government shut down tells you all you need to know about whether or not these lands belong to you.
On state controlled public lands, those who live, breath and work in Wyoming make decisions about leasing, reclamation and how to manage the land. On US controlled public lands within WY, bureaucrats who don’t live in WY make decisions about leasing, reclamation, and how to manage our lands…all from their office buildings in Washington DC.
Furthermore, they own the mineral rights, so they control the royalty rates for these minerals, including coal. Those royalties go directly into Federal coffers, not the state, and when they are feeling generous they give us a cut of those royalties. We are being robbed. The royalty rate on coal is 12.5%. The Dept. of Interior and EPA want that rate to go to 18.5% to make it more expensive for companies to further bankrupt coal! On state controlled lands we control the rates and can make decisions that make sense to Wyoming and our communities. The royalties we collect on state controlled public lands go directly into WY coffers.
The Dept. of Interior recently put a moratorium on ALL new coal leases in WY. Approval on new coal leases on fed controlled public lands takes 7-10 years because of all the regulations! Leases on state controlled public lands takes as little as several weeks, depending on the lease. At some point coal, oil and natural gas will rebound. We are familiar with booms and busts, but the real question before us is this: do we want to have control over our public lands and natural resources, and thereby have some sense of control over our future? Or are we content with the status quo and allowing the federal gov’t to control our public lands and natural resources? I’m for Wyoming people making Wyoming decisions, and not Washington D.C. people making Wyoming decisions.
2016 “Transfer of Federal Lands” Wyoming Legislation—I was the prime sponsor http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2016/Introduced/HB0142.pdf
2015 “Transfer of Federal Lands” Wyoming Legislation—I was a co-sponsor
Don’t Wyomingites deserve the same right to control their public lands and natural resources as ALL states east of Wyoming do?