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Washington D.C.--Wyoming's Congressional delegation denounced recent Environmental Protection Agency actions threatening Wyoming's implementation of its environmental incentive law.

In a letter this week to Carol Browner, EPA administrator, Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi and Representative Barbara Cubin expressed "in the strongest terms our apprehension that our state's prerogatives are being usurped, that a valuable opportunity to correct past environmental transgressions is being squandered."

The letter came after representatives for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and other states that have passed "environmental audit" legislation, met with Browner in Washington. The state officials sought to find out why Browner's organization is determined to block implementation of the state statutes. The EPA notified state officials that if businesses in their state make use of environmental incentive laws, the EPA will take away state authority to administer clean air and water programs, thus paving the way for EPA violation claims against those businesses.

Enzi, who sponsored Wyoming's environmental incentive law while serving in the state Legislature, said the EPA action is unwarranted.

"A total of 40 states have either enacted or have bi-partisan legislation pending which would create environmental incentive legislation. These laws encourage businesses to clean up the environment, while at the same time keeping EPA enforcement policies in place," said Enzi.

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"Wyoming is granted the authority for this law under the requirements of the Clean Air, Clean Waste and Clean Water Acts. Blackmail is most unbecoming of our federal government. Wyoming's law is a good law, but until it is allowed to function properly by the EPA, businesses will never feel comfortable using it to its full promise and the potential environmental cleanup will remain dormant. The EPA is standing in the way of good legislation when it can't even afford to enforce current law."

"This is just one more example of this Administration trampling on the rights of states that have jurisdiction over laws that govern businesses operating within their borders. It is mind-boggling that on the one hand the President claims he wants to cut government spending and make the government more efficient, yet his own federal agencies continue to hinder that process. The actions of the EPA are appalling and unwarranted. Wyoming can and should be allowed to give businesses every incentive to clean up the environment and I encourage the Governor to move forward accordingly," said Cubin.

The delegation letter was sent to Browner March 6.