By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Resolutions calling for the dismantling of some of the state and federal government’s biggest agencies were approved Friday by the Resolutions Comittee of the state Republican Convention.
Among the resolutions approved Friday for review by all of the delegates to the convention during their business meeting Saturday were measures calling for an end to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and national and state offices of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
A few people like delegate Kathy Orchard expressed concern that dissolving the EPA might empower certain more left-leaning states like Washington into becoming more empowered to make unilateral environmental decisions, such as blocking Wyoming coal producers from using seaport terminals in their state.
This has been an issue playing out with the government’s oversight, drawing legal challenges from Wyoming and Montana alleging discriminatory denial of their products.
“If we have the responsibility of the EPA remaining within individual states who are wanting to haul coal, and railroads running through multiple states, what kind mess is that mess is that going create?” she questioned the committee.
Isaac Best of Sublette County argued Wyoming would still have its own state EPA in place to handle these matters.
The Committee also voted to remove the BLM on a national level, before also agreeing later in the meeting to abolish state offices of the agency as well.
“Really, the lands should be state lands, not federal lands. What about the private property owners?” said Jana Williams of Uinta County.
There was little consideration during discussion of these issues on the logistics of eliminating major government departments.
Nina Webber, national committeewoman for the state GOP, said the resolutions are a road map for state legislators to follow, not hard and fast law.
“Resolutions are not law,” she said. “It’s the grassroots effort. We come in and represent the counties and the counties’ interests.”
Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, co-chair of the Resolutions Committee, said he was pleased with the committee’s efforts.
“The Wyoming Republican Party’s Resolution Committee has done great work,” he said. “The resolutions have gone through a careful scrutiny and grassroots process.”
Gray said he takes the resolutions very seriously in his work as a legislator, but delegate Kevin Aznoe of Lincoln County said he hasn’t seen many other legislators give the resolutions much consideration while they are in session.
Rep. Jeremy Haroldson (R-Wheatland), co-chair on the Resolutions Committee, defined for committee members when their meeting began Friday how important the committee’s work is.
“The resolutions are us reacting to a left agenda,” he said. “We’re always going to be fighting that agenda. It’s the enemy’s agenda.”
Other resolutions approved included one calling for an end to the U.S. Department of Education.
The resolution had the support of Tom Kelly, one of the Republican candidates running for the superintendent of public instruction’s office.