Guest Column: Defending Wyoming’s Access to our Public Lands 

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Harriet Hageman write, "The BLM’s Rock Springs Resource Management Plan is essentially a land lockdown, turning thousands of acres of federal land in Wyoming from multiple-use into non-use." 

CSD Staff

May 13, 20244 min read

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In Wyoming, we have always relied on access to America’s public lands for our way of life and our livelihood. It is essential for energy and mineral development, ranching and agriculture, hunting and fishing, hiking and climbing, and so much more. 

Unelected, unaccountable Washington bureaucrats are now jeopardizing Wyoming’s access to that land. They want to hijack Wyoming’s decision-making surrounding public land management and transfer it to climate zealots.

The Bureau of Land Management's new Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP) is one example of Washington’s outrageous attacks on Wyoming’s public lands. This misguided plan, which was proposed last year, would block multiple-use across 3 million acres in southwest Wyoming. 

It is essentially a land lockdown, turning thousands of acres of federal land in Wyoming from multiple-use into non-use. This is exactly what radical environmentalists have been demanding.  

Both of us questioned Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland about the Rock Springs RMP in the House and Senate Natural Resources committees. Secretary Haaland’s cluelessness about the Rock Springs RMP was remarkable. 

During the House committee hearing, Secretary Haaland was asked directly about whether she had heard of the Rock Springs RMP. Stunningly, she replied, “No, I have not.” The next day in the Senate, Secretary Haaland was pressed further about this outrageous proposal. She dodged the questions. 

In both hearings, Secretary Haaland displayed an unacceptable lack of familiarity with the Rock Springs RMP and the problems it presents for Wyoming. Yet as we told Secretary Haaland, she may not be familiar with this proposed rule, but the people of Wyoming certainly are. We strongly oppose it. 

The Rock Springs RMP is a classic example of government regulators snatching failure from the jaws of success. It was intended to be the product of 12 years of hard work by local communities, local stakeholders, land managers, ranchers, conservationists and energy producers. 

Instead, the Biden administration ignored more than a decade’s worth of practical, Wyoming solutions. In its place, it substituted a punishing Washington mandate that could severely restrict mining, oil and natural gas development, recreation, grazing and most other economically viable activities. 

Wyoming has more than 18 million acres of BLM land. We have been managing, developing, grazing, producing energy from and respecting these lands for a very long time. We know how to responsibly manage them so our grandchildren can enjoy them. Biden’s BLM ignores these facts as well as the law by pushing forward with a radical agenda.   

Sadly, the problem of overregulation does not end with the Rock Springs RMP. 

Another example of President Biden’s onslaught of regulatory overreach is the BLM’s sweeping Public Lands Rule. This rule, which was recently finalized, will do great damage to Wyoming’s communities and economy. Ranchers who graze their cattle, energy producers who power our nation, and everyday Americans who enjoy the use of our public lands will pay the price for Joe Biden’s all-out war on our Wyoming and Western way of life.

Wyoming remains the gold standard for the responsible use of our public lands, while also being one of the largest energy-producing states in the country. 

We intend to keep fighting against the Biden administration’s mandate madness, which aims to fundamentally transform this great Republic one regulation at a time. We will continue to introduce legislation to reverse these rules and replace them with a balanced approach that puts Wyoming, not Washington, in the driver’s seat.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman

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CSD Staff