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BLM Cancels Oil & Gas Lease Sales Again; Gordon Says Will Cost Wyoming Millions

in Energy/News
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming stands to lose millions of dollars more from this year’s second cancellation of oil and gas lease sales on federal lands, Gov. Mark Gordon said Wednesday.

Gordon criticized the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s announcement Wednesday that it would cancel its second oil and gas lease sale of the year, noting the state usually receives millions of dollars from the sales.

“Over the past eight years, Wyoming has received, on average, $35 million annually from oil and gas lease sales on federal lands,” he said in a statement. “This year, we have received zero, because first and second quarter lease sales have been indefinitely postponed.

The administration of President Joe Biden has ordered a halt to new oil and gas leases pending a review of the government’s lease program.

The BLM canceled its first quarter lease sale, scheduled for March, and on Wednesday announced it would hold no new lease sales at least through June.

The halt does not affect existing leases.

“The announcement … is disappointing, disheartening and not surprising,” Gordon said. “Federal reviews of anything take months, and sometimes years.”

Gordon said the Department of Interior could have conducted the review while allowing quarterly oil and gas lease sales to continue.

“Instead, they chose to tighten the financial choke of revenue that would normally flow to the state from lease sales, all the while refraining from consulting with the very states and communities that are directly impacted by these decision,” he said.

Gordon said he will testify on the issue next week before the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The state has already filed a lawsuit challenging the administration’s halt to lease sales, saying it violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and other regulations.

It asks the U.S. District Court in Wyoming to order the BLM to resume lease sales.

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Western Wyoming College hosts “Fall Geology Expo”

in Travel
Western Wyoming College Geology Expo
Attendees at Western Wyoming College’s annual “Fall Geology Expo” peruse vendors’ booths and get a chance to try some hands-on activities. This year’s expo will be held Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Western Wyoming College)
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By Cowboy State Daily

A wealth of rocks, gems and minerals awaits those who travel to Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs this weekend.

The college is holding its sixth annual “Fall Geology Expo,” a chance for the public to visit its extensive geology and archaeology collections and learn more about its nationally acclaimed geology program, said Dr. Dana Pertermann, associate professor of geology and anthropology who created the expo in 2013.

“There’s a whole bunch of things that having the expo here accomplishes,” she said. “One is getting the community involved. Two is disseminating geologic information. A lot of people don’t know that Rock Springs and Green River are in every first-year geology textbook for the Green River Formation and Rock Springs Uplift.”

The event Saturday, open to the public at no cost, is also designed in part to raise money for activities in the Geology Department that Pertermann heads, including field trips, a summer field school and scholarships.

Events featured at the expo include hands-on activities put on by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey, Pertermann said.

“They always come up with something different every year,” she said. “It might be using rocks as tools, it might be flintknapping. They get pretty creative every year to try to get people interested.”

Also on hand will be vendors selling a wide array of minerals, gems and stones, Pertermann said.

“A lot of them actually specialize in a particular stone in the rough,” she said. “One vendor specializes in moss agate or ‘Sweetwater stone,’ a particular kind of agate found near the Sweetwater River. We have another vendor who specializes in minerals from around the world. He goes to shows around the world and collects samples and then brings them here to Rock Springs.”

Also selling items will be the college itself, which will make specific items from its own collection available for purchase to raise money for the Geology Department.

“We have a huge collection,” Pertermann said. “I sell parts of that to benefit the students.”

Of particular interest to buyers in the past have been topographic maps, some of which have been in the school’s collection since it launched its geology program in 1972, she said.

“We usually get some interest from the hikers,” she said. “Some of these maps are really interesting. They make wonderful wall decorations.”

J Circle K International, the college arm of the Kiwanis Club, will also be on hand serving food and drinks for donations to its various causes.

Throughout the day, members of the public are encouraged to tour the college’s Natural History Museum and it collection of fossils and dinosaurs.

For more information about the Fall Geology Expo, visit the Western Wyoming College website.

Driskill: DC judge’s ruling on Wyoming oil & gas permits “idiotic… a tragedy”

in Energy/News
1163

By Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Senate Vice President Ogden Driskill for Senate District #1 has strong words on the ruling from Washington, D.C. judge Rudolph Contreras.

The federal district court judge ruled in favor of environmental activists, finding that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to consider climate change when issuing permits on 300,000 acres of federal land in Wyoming.

The ruling blocked further development on those lands until climate change’s impacts are assessed.

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