Wyoming governor opposes federal drilling leases in national forest

Wyoming is plenty bullish on a local natural-gas boom — but Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) has put his foot down at the Wyoming Range, asking the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to halt sales of drilling leases on 19,000 acres of western Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. Outdoorsy types say it’s about states’ rights: Wyomingites want the land protected for fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling. “We keep hearing this administration tout the importance of having local control or getting local input into public lands decisions,” said the Wyoming Outdoor Council’s Molly Absolon. “Wyoming citizens have said resoundingly, ‘Do not drill.’ We’re waiting for the federal government to listen.” Unsurprisingly, a petro-spokesflack says the feds haven’t been issuing leases fast enough. No word yet on whether the lease sales will be halted.