Trust seals Hoback deal

The deal ensures that the Hoback headwaters will be saved.

The Trust for Public Land announced today it has raised the $8.75 million needed to buy drilling leases and protect 58,000 acres of the Wyoming Range south of Jackson from oil and gas development.

The deal ensures that fracking will not occur in some of the headwaters of the Hoback River, and up to 136 wells will not be drilled in a pristine area prized for hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

The trust had been racing a Dec. 31 deadline to raise the necessary funding, which will be paid to Plains Exploration and Production of Houston, the company that owned the drilling rights.

“I can’t think of a better way to start off the New Year. This solution honors the wishes of the people of Wyoming and protects a vital corner of Greater Yellowstone for generations to come,” said Will Rogers, TPL president and CEO.

The largest donation came from Hansjörg Wyss, a Wilson homeowner who contributed $4.25 million through his charitable foundation. Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder and part owner of the Chicago Cubs who owns a home near Bondurant, gave $1.75 million, including an eleventh-hour gift of $750,000 that pushed the campaign across the finish line, the trust said in a release.

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Posted under Environment, Politics, Sports

9 Comments so far

  1. D January 2, 2013 11:41 am

    So capitalism and Profit is a good thing as long as the people who prosper are willing to donate to causes you support? Big bad Oil and Gas companies bad?….. Investment Bankster good? I think I get it now.

    I must say I am happy about this, but I was never upset with PXP. I actually think they were generous in their offer.

    Anywhooo Happy New Year!

  2. dave January 2, 2013 4:16 pm

    we better be thankful for the 1% cream.

  3. altimus January 2, 2013 5:12 pm

    agreed dave. thank you Hansjörg Wyss, joe ricketts and all who contributed.

  4. Brad January 2, 2013 9:03 pm

    This is great news. Thanks to all who gave.

  5. Double D January 3, 2013 7:08 am

    Capitalism is fine. A government that leases the land, profits, and then forces its people to pony up money to re-protect it, is what’s out of whack. Big oil runs Wyoming and the rest of us are the welfare queens living off its teat. I’m not surprised Big Oil would want their money back and then some.

  6. D January 3, 2013 12:05 pm

    I missed the part where you or anyone else was forced to do anything???

    They didn’t get anywhere near the money they would have by drilling it.

  7. Brad January 3, 2013 7:38 pm

    The government didn’t force anyone to do anything, Double D. It merely offered lease rights. It didn’t force PXP to take the risk and pay to lease the sub-surface mineral rights in Noble Basin. It didn’t force them to conduct seismic exploration activities which confirmed the basic geologic assessments of significant quantities of gas and/or oil underneath. That’s when the leases became valuable and PXP merely asked for (again, not forced by the government)a reasonable compensation against what they would have reaped after paying the government their royalties, had full development taken place. Mineral ownership is sacred, whether publicly owned or privately owned, more sacred than surface ownership or rights, and has ever been thus. Why wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, “big oil want their money back” giving up an expectation of reasonable return on investment. Whether private or public lands, lease fees alone are not very profitable, unless you’re in Bakken, Niobrara, or other known producing fields. But now it’s over. The Noble Basin leases are retired. Nobody makes nothin’. And a treasure remains as it is. Capitalism is great. And as said above, so is the 1%. In exchange for so-called “big oil run[ning] Wyoming”, I like to keep my mind on all the benefits of low or no taxes. Like Jackson Elementary School, built with coal royalty funds only. Going forward, I’m sure we’ll do a better job of keeping our natural wonders out of harm’s way.

  8. Double D January 4, 2013 7:16 am

    “The government didn’t force anyone to do anything”

    If you wanted to protect the land, you were ‘forced’, or required, to pony up the money to RE-PROTECT the land. The land was protected until the government decided to lease it.

    It’s like the govt selling Yellowstone, taking a profit, and then saying that the public can re-protect it if they pay a couple billion to whomever purchased it.

    It has nothing to do with Big Oil being good or bad. Personally, I couldn’t care less if it’s drilled but the idea that the public isn’t being forced to dish out the cash to re-protect it is incorrect.

  9. David Stubbs January 4, 2013 12:41 pm

    This is a historic grass roots effort from both sides of the political spectrum to protect land and water quality valued by citizens. Was it unfortunate that such valuable lands located at the headwaters of the Hoback were leased in the first place? Undeniably. But this effort to buy out the leases did not impose on anyone’s rights and we made it happen in a way that brought common sense conservation to fruition, transcending politicized inaction. Bravo. I hope this will be an example of how to correct past mistakes and get things done.

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