Key U.S. Senate Committee passes bill to protect the Wyoming Range mountains

Here is some good news.

The U. S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed a bill closing 1.2 million (!!) acres of the Wyoming Range mountains to natural gas exploration and production. This highly scenic, unstable, and wildlife rich mountain range is west of Big Piney and Daniel and south of Jackson, Wyoming. Little known outside the state of Wyoming, it is one of those rare places favored for protection from the oil industry by a state’s two Republican senators, a fact that moved it through the Senate Committee.

It still needs full Senate approval and action by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The area to the Range’s the east, the Green River Basin, has become a major natural gas production area of the United States. The Wyoming Range is also favorable to gas deposits, but its complex Overthrust Belt geology means the gas fields will be harder to find and broken up. The gas is likely to be sour (laced with deadly hydrogen sulfide gas), and exploration and production horribly corrupting of the landscape.

“Under the Wyoming Range Legacy Act of 2007, no additional oil and gas leasing, mining patents or geothermal leasing would be allowed in the 100-mile-long area of the range that is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming.” Read the rest in the Casper Star Tribune. By Noelle Straub. Star-Tribune Washington bureau

Some photos, I posted to Panaramio of parts of the Wyoming Range included in this legislation.



  1. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Is this the area that is critical for antelope to migrate across? I read an article a while back about that but can’t remember the location.
    I sure hope this passes in the senate.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    No this isn’t migration corridor. It is a long and tall range that runs 100-miles from north to south. It is paralleled to its west by a similar range (the Salt River Range).

  3. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    I’ve been following this story fairly closely. Even if this gets through Congress, what are the odds that Cheney will make sure that this is vetoed?

    Also, one problem Senator on this has been the Democrat from Louisiana Mary Landrieu; she’s been a problem on so many issues. In DC, she is known as “meddling Mary,” and has done a lot of bad things with the public schools there.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Having both Republican Wyoming senators behind it plus popular Governor Freudenthal makes a straight out veto unlikely, but this should also be considered, it will probably be put together with a number of other public land bills and sent as a package to the President.

    The package as a whole will be the determining factor by Bush and whoever it is who influences him.

    I hate this omnibus legislation. It is not a responsible way to pass laws because you can’t hold their votes against (or for) the legislators. That’s because they can always say they voted for it or against because of one of the other elements of the package, but that is the way things have been going in Congress for a generation now.

  5. Jon Way Avatar

    I become more embarrased to have Bush as a president with each article I read. He repeatedly preaches the importance of domestic oil production yet repeatedly does nothing to fund alternative energy production like geothermal energy or hydrogen power. Imagine if we had the $3 trillion from Iraq and found renewable energy options instead of fossil fuels. Now that would be homeland security with visible results. But it just shows how corrupt and entrenched he is with the oil industry. Does he think we are that stupid; or is he so stupid he doesn’t realize that we can see through him?

  6. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    Hydrogen is not a viable alternative energy. It is a code for nuclear power; the only way to make more hydrogen than it takes to extract it is via a byproduct of the nuclear process. That’s why you get a surprising number of right wingers on the hydrogen band wagon.

  7. JB Avatar


    Its worse than you think. We could be almost completely off of fossil fuels for well under what the fiasco in Iraq is going to cost us. Check out, ‘A Solar Grand Plan’ in Scientific American (December, 2007):

  8. Matt Avatar

    It seems that the true enemy of Wyoming is the gas/oil industry. It makes logical sense that, in this case, the WY politicians and wolf advocates would make for great bedfellows. After all, endangered species are a perfectly legal reason not to drill… A shame those politicians can’t see beyond their own noses.

  9. Monty Avatar

    It doesn’t suprised me that “meddling Mary”, from Louisiana, one of the most politically corrupt & polluted states in the Union, would be aganist conservation of any sort.
    Jumping to another topic, but somewhat related, was the pathetic performance by Senator Hutchins of Texas (TV interview) who attempted to justify drilling in the National Arctic Refuge in Alaska. She didn’t know the correct terminology, and it was apparent to all who listened, she had no idea what she was talking about. One nonsensical quote: “we are only proposing to drill where the grass grows”. I hope she knows more about economics & how government works than she knows anout the Arctic refuge.

  10. Jon Way Avatar

    Thanks JB,
    That article makes me even more glad that my tax $ is going to an endless war instead of solar panels on my roof! (sarcasm intended)


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan