CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A land conservation group says last-minute donations helped pull off an $8.75 million buyout of oil and gas leases at the headwaters of the Hoback River.
Monday was the deadline to close the deal. Deborah Love with the Trust for Public Land said Wednesday that a $750,000 donation by a millionaire in the Bondurant area helped to ensure the buyout of leases totaling 58,000 acres.
Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production planned to drill 136 gas wells in the area within Bridger-Teton National Forest. The Trust for Public Land now plans to donate those leases to the U.S. Forest Service so they can be permanently retired.
TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts made the final major donation to close the deal. Ricketts previously contributed $1 million to the effort.