This month I am traveling all over Wyoming, something I look forward to all year, every year! I’ll be talking with folks at meetings and of course with small businesses in Cora, Afton, Jackson, Pinedale, Etna, Star Valley Ranch, Kemmerer, Mountain View, Evanston, Rawlins, Casper, Douglas, Green River, Worland, Emblem, Lovell, Cody, Wapiti, and my hometown of Gillette. I look forward to meeting with everyone and being back in our great state for more than a weekend.
There truly is no better place!
Legislation would return AML funds
Recently, Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso introduced bipartisan legislation with Democrat Senators Bob Casey and Joe Manchin to restore money owed to coal-producing states from the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund. In June, Congress passed a two-year transportation bill which included a provision to raid the AML Trust Fund without debate and without consulting the states that would lose their owed mine land money.
The AML Trust Fund is used for reclaiming abandoned mine lands and coal related projects, and is funded by a tax on coal. In 2011, Wyoming paid into the AML Fund more than every other state combined, and Wyoming now stands to lose $702 million due to new policy in the transportation bill. Though Wyoming could lose the largest sum, many other states could lose millions of dollars as well: Pennsylvania ($178 million); West Virginia ($102 million); Illinois ($55 million); Kentucky ($54 million); Ohio ($34 million); Indiana ($18 million); Virginia ($16 million); and Alabama ($15 million). At least 13 other states will lose a combined $50 million.
“Trust funds set aside money for a specific reason and should not be raided to cover the costs of unrelated programs,” Enzi said.
Identical legislation was also introduced in the House by Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Rep. Nick Rahall, Democrat of West Virginia.
Wyoming should regulate its own air
Senator Enzi joined Sen. Barrasso and Rep. Lummis in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator, Lisa Jackson, expressing concern over the partial disapproval of the State of Wyoming’s Regional Haze State Implementation Plan.
Senator Enzi believes that the State of Wyoming is the best agent to address regional haze, not the federal government. Wyoming officials know the state and are better equipped to address the issue locally, without increasing energy rates for Wyoming’s citizens in the process.Wyoming followed all of the requirements specified in the Clean Air Act and developed an effective approach to addressing regional haze in the state. The EPA’s alternative would pass tremendous costs, in the form of higher energy prices, onto consumers.
United Nations Arms Trade Treaty
In July, Senator Enzi, along with 50 of his colleagues, sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraging them to uphold our constitutional right to own and use firearms in light of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty negotiations.
Enzi will oppose the ratification of any treaty that restricts the rights of U.S. civilians to lawfully own, trade and use firearms.
Time to audit the Federal Reserve
Senator Enzi is a cosponsor of S.202, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011, to allow for a non-partisan audit of the Reserve’s monetary decisions and actions.
Though the Federal Reserve is an independent institution, it should still be accountable and transparent to the American people, according to Enzi.
The House passed its version of the bill late last month and was sent to the Senate for consideration.
Extending tax relief necessary for recovery
Unemployment has remained over eight percent for more than three years. Given the fragile state of our economic recovery, Senator Enzi believes that the income tax relief provisions that are set to expire at the end of this year should be extended for one more year. Preventing massive tax increases on all Americans and small businesses should be an issue that Congress can address in a bipartisan way.
Enzi supports the Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2012, written by Senators Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell, which would extend the rates for a single year.
“Letting tax relief provisions expire when the economy is still weak could make things worse,” said Enzi.
The Senate majority’s alternate proposal allows taxes to increase on small businesses, slowing job creation when American needs it most and where it's done most often.