Wyoming Lands Off-Limits to Oil and Gas Development

According to a report by Dow Jones Newswires, a leasing ban has been included in a U.S. bill that puts more than one million acres of land in Wyoming off-limits to oil and gas exploration and development. The purpose of the ban is to secure more than two million new acres of wilderness.

Cleared by the Senate, the bill was given the go-ahead by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday when it passed after a 285-140 vote and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama, the report said.

Lease holders may not  drill in part of Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest under the new initiative, which does, however, allow for "directional drilling," or drilling at an angle, to tap resources that are located a mile into the forest, notes Dow Jones.

The mountainous area off-limits to oil and gas companies and covering some 1.2 million acres is estimated by the Wyoming Geologic Survey to contain 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.