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Hageman bill would block BLM’s Rock Springs ‘illegal land grab’ plan

Federal conservation plan is an “outright violation of our federal land management laws,” she tells congressional committee.

A sign in Green River protesting the BLM's proposed resource management plan for Southwest Wyoming, seen on March 17, 2024. (Tennessee Watson/WyoFile)

by Angus M. Thuermer Jr., WyoFile

Calling a federal conservation proposal for 3.7 million acres north of Rock Springs a “monstrosity of a plan,” U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman urged a House subcommittee to pass her bill to block the initiative.

Hageman, a Republican and Wyoming’s lone congressperson, made her case Wednesday to the House Federal Lands Subcommittee, where members considered her bill and listened to testimony regarding it. H.R. 6085, to prohibit implementation of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s plan, is a 71-word measure that she introduced on Oct. 26.

The controversial plan covers the vast and sometimes fragile high-desert landscape from the Wind River Mountains across the Red Desert to Rock Springs and beyond. The BLM proposal would allow for special rules governing everything from off-road vehicles to oil and gas leasing and other activities on about 1.3 million acres of critical environmental concern.

Many area residents oppose the plan, saying it would deter oil and gas development, limit recreation, severely constrain the livestock industry and upset a Western way of life. The area covers valuable wildlife habitat, including migration routes for pronghorn, deer and elk, as well as a greater sage grouse breadbasket known as the Golden Triangle.

“In typical fashion,” Hageman said Wednesday, “the federal government has chosen the very alternative that has the most community opposition and would do the most damage.” The BLM proposed a conservation alternative over a range of other options.

The BLM comment period on the proposal passed earlier this year, and the federal agency has pledged to work with Wyoming on revisions before a final plan is released. Hageman’s bill has advanced nevertheless.

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman holds a town hall in Jackson on Jan. 20, 2023. (Angus M. Thuermer, Jr./WyoFile)

“The administration continues to insert itself into every community in America under the guise of claiming to do good,” Hageman said, “only to outright ignore the community’s needs — and to pursue bad policies in the pursuit of political goals.” Those goals “are not shared by Wyoming … are not in the best interests of our country.”The committee left the bill open for 10 business days for responses to further questions that might come from representatives. Hageman is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources that oversees the Federal Lands Subcommittee.

This article was originally published by WyoFile and is republished here with permission. WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people, places and policy.