Lummis reviews house issues
Douglas – “I am very optimistic at the chances to take our country back, both this November and again in 2012. I think the American people will commit themselves back to the first principles of our country. I am working on some bills that will probably not be successful in this Congress, but I am hopeful they will be in the next Congress,” stated U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis during the Cattlemen’s Conference, sponsored by the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and Double S Feeders, held Aug. 18 in Douglas.
“The Equal Act to Justice Act (EAJA) was created in the name of paperwork reduction. Information was no longer kept on how much federal agencies were paying to people who successfully sued the federal government and received their attorney fees and costs in return.
“We’re trying to get that information to become more transparent because it’s been so overused by groups such as Western Watersheds. Even when they sue on a technicality, such as the BLM missing a deadline, and are successful, the briefs are canned and their lawyers are being paid exorbitant fees for the amount of work they’re doing, and it’s coming out of your pocket. You have to pay the federal government for awarding your lease to you, and if it’s denied you also pay the party that sued to prevent you from getting your grazing lease. It’s a sick system that started with the best of intentions but has been corrupted by groups that are litigation mills,” stated Lummis.
She also explained a bill she was involved in for over a year that attempted to start pilot projects in forests affected by the bark beetle in the West, but was unsuccessful due to the current administration.
“We worked for almost a year with the Forest Service to get pilot projects to deal with bark beetle kill in a way that would provide some flexibility. There is roughly a three- to four-year period after trees are dead and have shed their needles that the wood is still salvageable, and in order to prevent that wood from going to waste we worked with the Forest Service to create some flexibility in their options.
“We drafted the bill to their requests, and included some language requested by Colorado and South Dakota senators. Yet, when we brought that bill to a hearing, the Forest Service testified against it. They testified against it because the environmental Czar for the Obama administration directed them to.
“These decisions are not being made by the boots on the ground experts, they are being made by Lisa Jackson at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who isn’t even over the Forest Service. Carol Brown, who is the Czar in this administration, is also making them. It was a disappointing, if not surprising, turn of events, and the kind of thing we need to fight this November, and again in November of 2012,” said Lummis.
Multiple bills that may be incorporated into the next Farm Bill are also on Lummis’s slate. She noted that current Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson scheduled hearings around the country early in preparation for the next five-year Farm Bill.
“To get a jump on things we started hearings early, and I was very, very happy that Collin Peterson chose to hold one of his hearings in Wyoming. It was an informative and fun event to be a part of, and a great opportunity to give a voice to ag issues right here in Wyoming,” noted Lummis.
One a lighter note, Lummis commented on her State Fair experience prior to attending the Cattlemen’s Conference.
“Wyoming agriculture produces the best kids. I just came from the State Fair and met with several of the state FFA officers. They’re articulate, hard working, organized and responsible, and I see several of their parents here. You’re raising the future county commissioners, school board members and the kids that will come up and replace us. The kids of Wyoming agriculture are the best there are,” she said.