Sunday, February 26, 2017

The natives are restless

An advertisement in today's Casper Star Tribune:

I don't know who the "concerned constituents in Wyoming" are, but while I suspect that only reflects a narrow interest, it's also the case that our two Senators and our Congresswoman have taken a bruising from locals recently, and much of that is due to public lands.

Indeed Enzi, who tends to be the most independent of our representation in Washington, has walked away from supporting the transfer of public lands to the states. Contrary to what he may now be saying, he was clearly backing it just a few weeks ago.  Just recently t he Wyoming Tribune (one of the papers, by the way, that we've been linking in quite a bit in regards to 1917) asked him a series of questions including one on this topic and he denied supporting it. From the Tribune:

Question: Senator, another common question from readers has to do with public lands and the transfer of public lands to the states. Earlier this month, (a) representative from Utah (Republican Jason Chaffetz) withdrew legislation that would transfer about three million acres of land from federal to state ownership.
What’s your position on federal ownership, and how important is it for the feds to maintain the public lands we have so many of in Wyoming? Or are you a proponent of transferring those lands to the state?
Enzi: No, I’m not a proponent of it. The education that’s needed to do that hasn’t begun to be done. The questions haven’t been answered about how it would be paid for.
But the reason we get that response is from people that are being shut out of public lands, and the amount of time that it takes to get any permission to do anything on them even in non-significant areas.
Our last president had a policy that he didn’t want anything done with fossil fuels, and he enforced that by making sure that the public lands weren’t used for fossil fuels, and that’s wrong. There are areas where it would be beneficial to have the exploration, particularly for the national security for the United States. If the lands are managed properly and not with a top-down “No!” for everything, some of that will go away.
There’ll always be some interest, since every state from North and South Dakota east has almost all of their public land in state hands, and that’s kind of rippled across the United States. There are people out in this area that think that would be important.
I had one candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives come to me with a plan that we needed to do that. I said, “Have you polled that around Wyoming?”
He said, “Yes, everybody I talked to is interested in that.” I said, “Well, I don’t think your poll is very extensive then.”
And I’ve noticed that (Wyoming state legislator) Sen. (Eli) Bebout pulled that bill almost immediately in the session, recognizing that it wasn’t going to be beneficial.
Well, good for him.  I don't begrudge a politician actually listening to the electorate and changing his mind.

Senator John Barasso did appear in the state, contrary to what this advertisement suggests, and spoke in Big Horn.

Big Horn is a tiny town, but none the less he drew protestors that crowded the town's streets. Truly extraordinary.  Apparently some of the people who were there are part of an anti Trump group calling itself "Real Resistance".  I doubt that has widespread support in the state, but by the same token I've been seeing some criticism of Barasso for years and perhaps this will serve as notice that people really are paying attention.

As for Cheney, I haven't heard much or from her recently, although she was a sponsor of a bill aimed at the Federal administration of its lands.  People who wrote her with concern over the public lands recently all received the same form letter, which is a cheap, easy, and somewhat dim way of responding to her upset constituents as it assume that they don't talk to each other.

Anyhow, there's some upset folks out there. Enzi has noticed.  The others would be well to notice as well.  I don't expect them to agree with everything noted in the ad (and I wonder if something like "Real Resistance" sponsored it, but at least on public lands politicians that have been ignoring the state risk having the state change their public fortunes going forward.

No comments: