Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Wyoming counties join foes of BLM wildlands inventory

Park County joined the Wyoming County Commissioners Association on Tuesday in voting to publicly oppose a federal order directing the Bureau of Land Management to inventory public land with wilderness characteristics. In a 3-1 vote at their meeting Tuesday, commissioners objected to a Dec. 22 order by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directing the BLM to maintain a “wilderness resource inventory” for public lands under its jurisdiction. Commissioners voted to sign the petition opposing the order. Those who supported the move accused Salazar of usurping his authority in trying to declare new wilderness without action by Congress. “Salazar is trying to circumvent the Wilderness Act,” Commissioner Joe Tilden said. “He's taking it upon himself to declare a lot of these areas as wildlands.” Tilden said Park County is home to roughly 532,000 acres of potential wildlands. Designating them as wilderness, he said, would effectively halt future oil and gas exploration. Commissioners Loren Grosskopf and Tim French agreed. French called Salazar's order a “raw abuse of power.”...more

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