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Enzi: Coal report swing and a miss for anti-energy advocates

Despite attempts by anti-coal activists in Congress, a recently released report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concerning the Bureau of Land Management’s federal coal leasing program is not the condemnation of coal they were looking for. According to Senator Mike Enzi, the report even highlights the importance of federal coal to the nation’s economy and energy portfolio.

“Some of my anti-coal colleagues requested a report on the coal leasing program and when the report showed that each year it adds around $1 billion to the treasury, the coal opponents concentrated on misleading people into thinking the program is not competitive,” said Enzi.  

The report found that over 40 percent of the nation’s coal production in 2012 came from federal leases and made recommendations for improving the coal leasing program, none of which require any significant changes. The report notes that while there have been 96 coal tracts that received one bidder since 1990, the reason is tied to the significant capital investment and time required to start a new mine, not a lack of competition for bids.

In a recent Op-Ed published in The Hill, the Wyoming delegation targeted the anti-coal zealots in noting that, “Poverty will not help the environment, it will hurt it. But that’s exactly where these kinds of anti-energy misinformation campaigns lead. We need to be taking advantage of the clean burning coal we produce, look at how to increase productive and clean use of coal, and research other uses of coal. We all want a clean environment and cheaper energy.  It would be easier to find both through cooperation rather than absolute condemnation of coal in every circumstance.”

Click here to read the full Op-Ed by Senator Enzi, Senator Barrasso and Rep. Lummis on the GAO report

Click here to read the report from the GAO. 


Postal Reform protects 2nd amendment rights and rural post offices

The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) passed legislation in early February that would help the United States Postal Service (USPS) change with the times.

Senator Enzi said the bill would help protect rural post offices from closing, restructure postal rates and maintain Second Amendment rights. Enzi, who voted in favor of the final bill, believes that the legislation goes a long way to make the USPS viable by injecting competition into its business plan and helping get the USPS’s costs under control, while ensuring that customers in rural states can still rely on service.

The committee unanimously adopted an amendment by Enzi that would provide communities and employees with the opportunity to present better ideas to the USPS to address costs to keep post offices open.

The committee also voted unanimously to include an amendment in the bill that would allow individuals to carry firearms in parking lots of post offices in accordance with state and local laws. The USPS now has rules against any firearms anywhere on postal property and individuals are being prosecuted. 

“Imaginary lines should not take away our Constitutional rights,” said Enzi.

In order to avoid drastic rate increases the committee passed an amendment, which Enzi voted in favor of, that gives the USPS more flexibility in designing its rate system starting in 2017, while preserving the role of the Postal Regulatory Commission in overseeing that process.

Enzi was pleased that both Republican and Democratic amendments were considered in the committee through regular order. The postal reform bill is now headed to the full Senate for consideration.   

Senators look to Wyoming to change culture of Congress

In order to stop Congress from passing bills with countless unrelated measures Senators Enzi and Barrasso introduced a bill which would require any legislation considered by the Senate to be limited to a single issue, the same rule the Wyoming Legislature is required to follow when drafting legislation.

“I learned in the Wyoming Legislature that one topic per bill is how you get things done. It means understandable and manageable bills,” said Enzi. “By following this example, we can inject a little common sense into Congress and curb the culture of deal-making.”

Senate approves unlimited debt, no strings attached

This month Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a bill  that will allow the Administration to ignore the limits on how much more debt our country can pile up until March 15 of next year.Senator Enzi voted against suspending the debt limit.

“Allowing more debt until Congress has the time, inclination or willpower to fix the spending problem results in one thing - more debt.” Enzi said. “Increasing the debt limit with no strings attached eliminates the incentive to prioritize our country’s spending and backs us toward bankruptcy”

Senators fight to prevent IRS targeting

Senators Enzi and Barrasso joined 36 of their Republican colleagues in introducing a bill that would preserve free speech and prevent the IRS from targeting politically aligned groups.

Government agencies should be blind to ideology and not use it as a political weapon,” said Enzi. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in these efforts to prevent future abuse by government against political opponents.”

Carbon County office hours

Senator Enzi's five state offices in Cheyenne, Gillette, Casper, Cody and Jackson offer office hours where Wyoming residents have the opportunity to meet with Senator Enzi’s state representatives in his absence. Upcoming office hours include:

 Wednesday, March 12

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Platte Valley Community Center, Saratoga, WY

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Town Hall, Medicine Bow, WY