Casper City Council on Monday authorized Mayor Daniel Sandoval to write a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management asking it to remove two oil and gas leases for sale next month on land under consideration for annexation

For the past year, the city has been looking at the possibility of annexing 6,500 acres, or more than 10 square miles, north of Casper.

That land is owned by Wyoming Land Acquisition Partners LLC, and is better known as the B.B. Brooks Ranch development.

The annexation process requires major studies about transportation, infrastructure, drainage, police and fire needs, schools and other issues.

And those issues need to be resolved before a formal annexation request.

In a more immediate concern, the BLM on Feb. 2 plans to offer two oil and gas leases for sale on parcels on property owned by Wyoming Land Acquisition Partners LLC.

The company asked the city to protest the sales. Otherwise, the annexation could not happen.

City Manager V.H. McDonald says the sale of the leases would pose a serious problem for annexation.

"We have two issues," McDonald said. "We have a prohibition against drilling in the city so you can't drill on existing property, and then if they drill it takes their property off-line for being developable with wells on it."

City Council needed to approve the mayor's letter of protest to the Bureau of Land Management at its special meeting Monday, because the BLM needs to receive that letter by 4 p.m. today.

During that special meeting, council also named Wayne Heili as the council member to replace the Ward I position vacated by Robin Mundell.