Cheyenne, WY. – President of the Wyoming Senate and republican from Riverton, Eli Bebout, said recently that any chances of transfer of federal land into state control in the near future are “pretty remote.”
The idea has increased in popularity and garnered interest recently in other Western states, including Utah. Bebout says he isn’t a fan of the idea of Wyoming filing a lawsuit to get control of the lands, and thinks the process would likely be long and drawn out and wouldn’t get good results. He recalls similar lawsuits over federal land in the 1970s that failed and says congressional action would most likely be the best approach for getting control of federal lands.
Bebout feels that the federal government needs to speed up the permit process for oil drilling and other types of development, and he’s hopeful that the Trump administration, including it’s new interior Secretary can get the job done. The new administration in Washington, paired alongside a new BLM Director in Wyoming could alter the accessibility of federal lands to multiple use cases, in a positive way according to Bebout.
Wyoming remains at a competitive disadvantage with states like Texas, Bebout says. Most oil and gas drilling there occurs on private land with less regulation compared to here at home.