Wyoming's governor has asked the Secretary of the Interior to rescind an order to designate lands under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management as wild lands. At a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Matt Mead spoke about his letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Letter to Interior Secretary:

"Secretary Ken Salazar had implemented Secretarial Order 3310. That order directs the BLM to identify public land as wild lands and protect them for wilderness values. I wrote a letter to Secretary Salazar expressing my concern about this order."

In addition to circumventing Congress with Secretarial Order 3310, the governor had other concerns, as well.

Concerns with secretarial order:

"This secretarial order is not done through Congress, it's done through Secretary Salazar. The policy ignores Wyoming's contribution, in my mind, to natural resources, the nation's economic sustainability; it ignores the revenues our state and local governments depend upon for mineral and other development, and if fails to address the impact to ranchers, those involved in recreation, and those who rely on our land in a number of different reasons."

Gov. Mead said the wild land designation isn't as odious to development as a wilderness designation, but being designated as wild lands puts the land on a faster track to being designated as a wilderness area.

Faster track to wilderness designation:

"As they describe it, it would be sort of in between that, to fill that gap, but also, once it's designated as wild land, then it could be moved to a wilderness designation by Congress more easily. And that is part of their motivation, I understand, to designate it as wild land and then set it up to be designated as wilderness areas."

The process is accelerated in another way, says Mead, because anyone can suggest any swath of public land should have a wild lands designation, and the BLM is obligated to consider it.

Designation at public whim:

"Anybody, we understand, has the ability to go and say, we would like this land, whatever it may be, to be considered as a wild land designation, and there's an obligation on the part of  BLM to look to see whether it should be or not.

So far Wyoming hasn't received any requests to designate any BLM land in Wyoming as wild lands, but, the governor notes, the secretarial order was implemented just a few weeks ago on December 23rd.