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Gov. Mark Gordon speaks during a press conference Thursday, June 4, 2020, inside the Capitol in downtown Cheyenne. The media briefing was to address the vigils and protests around the state regarding the death of George Floyd and police brutality, as well as a grim update on the future of the Wyoming economy. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Gov. Mark Gordon’s administration is preparing a bid to Occidental Petroleum for 1 million acres of surface land and 4 million acres of mineral rights, and is using a process that won’t require legislative approval, according to executive branch officials.

State officials have opted to pursue the purchase — the cost of which has never been publicly disclosed but has been estimated at more than $1 billion — as an investment of funds already under control of the state treasurer’s office. Doing so eliminates the need for an appropriation from the Wyoming Legislature under state statute, officials said, provided the purchase is considered a “prudent investment.”

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