Report: Wyoming Residents Discuss RuPaul's Fracking Ranch

Sunday August 30, 2020

A new report from the British newspaper the Guardian looked into the Wyoming ranch RuPaul shares with his husband after the "Drag Race" host seemingly admitted that oil companies may be fracking on the property.

Ru came under fire earlier this year when someone pointed out on Twitter that fracking might be taking place on the ranch he frequents after talking about it with NPR.

"RuPaul sparked concerns that oil companies may be fracking on his 60,000-acre ranch in eastern Wyoming," the Guardian writes. "A 'modern ranch, 21st-century ranch is really land management,' he said, and one aspect of that is to 'lease the mineral rights to oil companies and you sell water to oil companies.'"

Although many frown upon fracking, the Guardian goes on to report that locals are "hardly surprised" and that "it would be strange for major landowners like RuPaul and his husband not to have fracking rigs on their ranches."

"As Wyomingites are aware, RuPaul and his husband probably have no say over whether fracking occurs on their property," the newspaper writes. "The rights to minerals under a given piece of land, including fossil fuels, are owned separately from the surface rights."

The Guardian spoke with Ru's neighbor, Jay Butler, a fourth-generation rancher who owns at 18,000-acre ranch.

"Unless you own 100% of the fossil fuel rights under your land — and the vast majority of ranches don't — you can't prohibit oil and gas development. You don't have a choice," he explained. "If you drive north out of Douglas, all the ranches are involved with the oil industry."

The newspaper reports Ru doesn't live with his husband Georges LeBar full time but uses the ranch as a vacation spot. LeBar inherited the farm from his grandfather and "doesn't own or run cattle himself, instead of leasing the grazing rights on his land to other ranchers."

"There isn't a lot to do," RuPaul told Jimmy Kimmel about the ranch in 2018. "I go up there and read books and watch movies. We just chill."

: "RuPaul hasn't been seen in town by locals very often, and he called the people of Wyoming 'frosty' and 'chilly.'"

Gage Williams, the chair of the LGBTQ group Out in Wyoming told the newspaper that he wishes Ru "would come to one of my events."

"That ranch is right in Douglas, which is known for oil. It's not a surprise that one of the biggest ranches is fracking," he said.

Butler also said: "RuPaul and LeBar could not say no to oil and gas development. I cannot say no on any of the ranch that I'm owner of. There's a healthy tension between ranchers and the oil industry, and you just have to negotiate in good faith."

He also disagreed with Ru's description of locals.

"I'm not frosty, I'd go for a drink with him," Butler said.

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