Wyoming refuses to join rebels

  When the Wyoming Outdoor Council heard that state officials planned to meet with representatives from Nevada's rebellious Nye County, the environmental group decided that people needed to know what Wyoming was up to. Nye County, Nev., gained notoriety when Commissioner Dick Carver bulldozed his way onto federal land and the justice department filed suit against the county's claim that it "owned" all federal land (HCN, 3/30/95). Before the Nye folks arrived, Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer told reporters the meeting was to discuss a possible legal challenge to federal ownership of public lands. But because of public scrutiny, Geringer did not attend the meeting and he later announced that Wyoming would not join the Nye movement, reports the Casper Star-Tribune. During the meeting, the Eureka County, Nev., district attorney said Nevada counties hoped Wyoming would take the federal-lands issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. Tom Throop, director of the Wyoming Outdoor Council, says he then asked, "You can't get your own state so you'll take any state you can get?" and the district attorney answered, "Quite frankly, yes." That shocked the audience, says Throop, and people were also surprised to hear Nye County leaders assert that all federal lands - even national parks - belong to the states and counties. Throop says joining the lawsuit now would be political suicide for Wyoming officials: "They're not going to touch those Nevada counties with a 10-foot pole." - Elizabeth Manning


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