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Wyoming officials to meet Monday on possible $1B land bid

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Mark Gordon and other top Wyoming officials plan to meet Monday to discuss whether to bid on Occidental Petroleum’s land holdings in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

The Houston-based company is selling land and mineral rights covering 7,800 square miles (20,200 square kilometers), an area bigger than the state of Connecticut.

Individual bids submitted by Wyoming and others could top $1 billion.

Occidental has given Wyoming a one-week extension on bidding so state officials could hold the meeting. Originally due this past Wednesday, the bid is now due next Wednesday.

Gordon and the other four top statewide elected officials on the State Loan and Investment Board plan to meet in a live-streamed video conference at 10:30 a.m.

They plan to hear public comments but participants will be limited to no more than 3 minutes of speaking time due to the large amount of interest.

About one-quarter of the land includes surface rights that could be leased for grazing or wind and solar energy projects. The other three-quarters is solely mineral rights — ownership of trona, oil and natural gas reserves that could be leased for mining and drilling.

Proponents say the land could offer a better return than some current state investments. The purchase money would come from state investment funds.

For more on the controversy regarding transparency and costs, read the recent WyoFile story.

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