Washington Monthly Report
We now have a new administration. In January, I became chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. President Trump announced his nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate also started the process of rolling back punishing regulations from the Obama administration.
Supreme Court Nomination
On Jan. 31, President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Our next justice will make decisions that impact our country for generations. That’s why it’s important to confirm someone who will apply the law, not legislate from the bench.
Judge Gorsuch is a mainstream nominee with an extensive and impressive judicial career. He has a record of fiercely defending religious freedoms. His experience with issues affecting the Rocky Mountain West will make him unique among his fellow justices. I look forward to a thorough confirmation process.
Chairing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
On Jan. 4, I became chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) for the 115th Congress. This committee handles issues important to Wyoming including environmental, transportation and infrastructure issues.
As chairman, I will focus on removing red-tape and bureaucratic barriers to development. At the same time, we need to make sure there is clean air, land, and water for every American. During the past eight years, a runaway Environmental Protection Agency has issued many regulations limiting job creation and energy development. We will work closely with the White House to remove these obstacles to economic growth while protecting our environment. We will also help America’s rural communities by addressing the issue of aging roads, bridges and dams.
Resolution to Rollback Methane Rule
Last November, the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a final rule regarding methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal land. This was yet another thinly veiled effort to drive oil and natural gas production off federal land and out of the West.
On Jan. 30, I introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal this unnecessary rule. It is the job of the EPA and the states – not the BLM – to regulate air quality. This is beyond the agency’s mandate. BLM should be using its limited resources to allow natural gas pipelines to be built on federal lands in a timely manner. Instead of burning off excess gas into the atmosphere, these pipelines will help capture that gas and get it to market, while creating jobs and providing energy for Americans.
Bipartisan Bill to Remove Gray Wolf from Endangered Species List
On Jan 17, I joined a group of Republican and Democrat senators on a bill to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. Wyoming has kept its commitment and has put together a solid plan to protect the state’s wolf population. Even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agrees that wolves in Wyoming should be taken off the endangered species list. It’s time to move forward and focus taxpayer resources on truly imperiled species. This bill is just one of many legislative opportunities we’ll continue to pursue until Wyoming’s wolf management plan is fully implemented.
Wyoming Comes to Washington
It was wonderful to see so many people from Wyoming in town for the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.
I also had the opportunity to visit with representatives of the Wyoming Primary Care Association from Cheyenne, Powell and Sheridan. We talked about importance of community health centers and the continuing challenges facing rural health providers.