Powder River Basin Resource Council says Wyoming has been saved from a potentially serious financial blunder.

Powder River Basin Resource Council expressed optimism that Wyoming’s bid for millions of acres of land and mineral rights has apparently failed. Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is negotiating with another bidder instead.

“Luckily, Wyoming seems to have dodged a bullet, and escaped what was shaping up to be a very costly investment mistake – sinking maybe a billion dollars of public money into land and minerals. This ill-conceived use of our state’s “permanent” investment funds would have broken an elementary investing rule of sovereign wealth funds, by doubling down on Wyoming’s primary source of existing revenue. And that mistake would have been magnified in this economy where our foundational revenues are sinking fast,” said Bob LeResche, Powder River Board member.

“We remain concerned that there has never been transparency from the state in this process. The Administration and a few insiders hatched this idea behind closed doors, and the Governor vetoed legislation that required public review. The only reason we know what little we do is that the public, organizations such as Powder River, and the press forced disclosure of how a few politicians and bureaucrats were intending to spend Wyoming’s Permanent Mineral Trust Fund. It is unfortunate that the government has wasted so much time and so much money on this speculative deal.

“This so called ‘bold bid’ looks more like we may have averted a bold blunder. We hope that now our government can concentrate on its real job, such as diversifying our economy, slowing the plunge in our revenues, and revising our unsustainable tax structure. And we hope that the managers of our assets can improve their returns without resorting to further unconventional investments like ‘the biggest land purchase in state history.’”