Gordon seeks block to BLM land buy in Natrona, Carbon counties

By: 
Via the Wyoming News Exchange

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The state of Wyoming is asking a federal panel to block a Bureau of Land Management purchase of Marton Ranch land in Natrona and Carbon counties. 

On Friday afternoon, the office of Gov. Mark Gordon announced the legal move. It called BLM’s action “a massive acquisition of land.” 

The agency itself has called this its largest land purchase in Wyoming, “creating a 118-square mile contiguous block of public land and improving public access to the North Platte River.” 

The notice of appeal was filed with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Hearing and Appeals’ Board of Land Appeals. 

“The State has concerns that BLM did not involve the public in the acquisition process and that the environmental assessment did not adequately consider impacts on tax revenues, school funding, grazing, mineral development and other natural resources” of the transaction, a news release summarized. 

For such land deals, the state said it needs to have a 60-day comment period and to have two public votes of the State Board of Land Commissioners. 

The land board counts Gordon as a member, along with several other statewide elected officials. 

Gordon’s office said he emphasizes that this new legal challenge is “focused on the adequacy and proper adherence to the process that occurred.”

“This action is not about limiting access for sportspeople or challenging the rights of private property owners rights,” Gordon said in the release. “It is about whether the Federal government can increase its land holdings without public scrutiny, or should it adhere to the same transparent process that private landowners are subject to if they sought to purchase or exchange federal land.” 

The BLM declined to comment Saturday on the administrative complaint.

 

This story was posted June 19, 2022.

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