The Wyoming House of Representatives on Friday failed to pass a bill to transfer federal lands to Wyoming and another bill seeking a catalog of closed routes on public federal property. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile)

A bill to transfer federal lands to Wyoming and another seeking a catalog of closed routes on public federal property died in the Wyoming House.

HB 142 “Transfer of Federal Lands” wasn’t brought up for vote before the 3:45 p.m. deadline today. HB 126 “Public Land Access” to catalog the closed routes failed introduction 52-7-1.

Public Lands Access would have spent $100,000 to develop an inventory of federal roads and trails that have been closed. If passed, a committee could have recommended a bill to address public access. Opponents said that route information is readily available, and that Wyoming has already spent $75,000 on a study of transferring federal lands with a final report yet to come.

“I’ve got a publication with a phone number to the forest service and they’ll tell you every road that was closed,” said Rep. Stan Blake (D-Green River). “This is a budget crunch folks.”

Co-sponsor Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) offered to revisit the $100,000 appropriation in the bill before it was defeated, but to no avail.

Several public lands access advocacy groups organized their memberships to contact Wyoming legislators to express opposition to it and other public lands transfer bills. Before HB 142 expired on Friday, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation said transferring public lands to the states, “would essentially put them on the fast track for energy and mineral development.” WWF Board President Dave Moody said “Without that federal ownership and designation, the states could do what they want when it comes to how these public lands could be managed, and this means decreasing their values when it comes to wildlife, habitat and recreation.”

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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  1. Why did they waste our tax money on studying this? Most people in Wyoming know that the state is not who we want managing our public lands. They sell it to their buddies, they occassionally lease it excusively with a clause that allows the rancher to keep the public off of it, we can’t camp on it, we can’t have a camp fire on it…. If the state really wants to open up public land, they would have spent that money to purchase road easements for us to access our land locked land or a land locked fishing area. Thanks for the link for the petition regarding public access….why can’t the western republicans support the masses instead of the wealthy land owner who most likely can’t even vote in the state the politician represents?