Cynthia Lummis

Cynthia Lummis

WYOMING

Lummis Uses Appropriations Bill to Defend Wyoming Uranium Jobs

2014/07/11

Last night U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis secured language in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to strengthen the Department of Energy’s legal obligation to consider the health of the United States’ uranium mining industry as it seeks to dispose of excess uranium. Under the Lummis language, a ten percent drop in the price of uranium would invalidate the Department’s standing uranium transfer authority, forcing the agency to undergo additional analysis of whether the federal transfers are hurting uranium miners and other domestic uranium industries. Additionally, the House unanimously adopted by voice vote a Lummis Amendment blocking funding for Department actions that adversely impact the domestic uranium industry or fail to comply with public notice and comment requirements that bind all federal agencies.

Current law prohibits the Secretary of Energy from transferring uranium unless the Secretary determines the transfer will not adversely impact the domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment industries, all of which are crucial to the uranium supply chain that feeds our nation’s nuclear power plants. However, these secretarial determinations have not fully reflected the true damage inflicted on Wyoming’s uranium miners when the federal government dumps large amounts of uranium on the market. These secretarial determinations have also been plagued by a lack of transparency. A June 9, 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has documented shortcomings in the Department’s analysis of impacts on the domestic uranium market, including a failure to adequately consult with the uranium miners and others in the industry.

“The secretarial determination is supposed to be a safeguard so the government doesn’t abuse its enormous assets and crush domestic industries, but the whole process has turned into a sham,” said Rep. Lummis. “The Department’s own commissioned market analysis confirms that the next round of transfers will cause job losses in Wyoming and elsewhere, but instead of scaling back the transfers the Administration is moving forward based on mysterious ‘other information and analysis’ they have chosen not to make public. Wyoming has the largest uranium deposits in the U.S. and hard-working people working to alleviate our nation’s dependence on foreign uranium for 90 percent of our country’s nuclear-based electricity supply. But their task is made difficult, if not impossible, in the face of reckless federal uranium transfers. My amendment is but a first step towards the reforms we need to restore sanity in the federal uranium program and improve American energy security with Wyoming uranium and Wyoming jobs.”

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Lummis Challenges EPA’s Claims of Power to Garnish Private Citizens’ Wages

2014/07/10

Today U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis joined more than 20 of her colleagues to send a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy objecting to the agency’s claim of authority to “garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States” without first obtaining a court order. The letter goes on to express concerns of “the increasingly punitive nature of the agency” citing a “more than 160 percent increase” of fines collected “in a span of only four years”. The House members also criticize the “process for challenging fines and wage garnishment” as unsatisfactory because “it allows the agency to decide if the accused can even present a defense.”

“We are seeing a federal agency going rogue and, frankly, drunk with power,” said Rep. Lummis. “If anyone doubts the outrageous things the EPA is willing to do, just look at the approximately $187,500 in daily fines they are trying to impose on a private Wyoming land owner for building a pond on his own property. Moreover, Americans have a constitutional right to due process and it is absurd for any agency, especially a regulatory agency like the EPA, to claim they can decide who is allowed and who is not allowed to make a defense. It is time to rein in the EPA and make it back off of our rights, wages, waters, and lands.”


Below is the full text of the letter.

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We are writing to express our deep concerns with a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claim to have authority to "garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order."

This claim seems to violate American citizens’ Constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process by placing the burden of proof on the debtor, rather than the agency. The process for challenging fines and wage garnishment is not satisfactory because it allows the agency to decide if the accused can even present a defense.

The increasingly punitive nature of the agency is also of concern. According to the agency’s annual reports, the amount of fines collected by the EPA has gone from $96 million in 2009 to $252 million in 2013. Though we agree stakeholders must be responsible and the EPA should enforce rules reasonably, the more than 160 percent increase in a span of only four years indicates that some of these fines may have been excessive.

The EPA has said the rule was not subject to review because it is not a "significant regulatory action." But it has recently been reported that a Wyoming homeowner was threatened with a $75,000 fine for building a pond on his property. That might seem like a drop in the bucket to a bureaucratic agency with a multi-billion dollar budget, but for the vast majority of Americans, $75,000 is a lot of money. The proposed rule would make it both more difficult to dispute such fines and provide incentive for the EPA to issue penalties against more Americans. Its impact, therefore, would certainly create “significant” hardships on affected individuals.

The agency has fast-tracked the rule to take effect on September 2nd, 2014 absent sufficient opposing comment by August 1st, 2014. We are writing to voice our strongest opposition to the rule and the EPA’s inadequate engagement with the public concerning it. Further, we ask that you reverse your decision and not follow through with this rule. By doing so, your agency will demonstrate respect for the right to due process under the law that is guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.

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Lummis Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Contraceptive Mandate

2014/06/30

Washington, D.C.-In response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby case U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court ruling affirms what we knew all along: the Obamacare contraceptive mandate to supply abortifacients and contraceptives to employees violates the constitutional right to freedom of religion.  I am pleased that the majority of Justices realized this and ruled in favor of that freedom.  In the U.S. House I have already joined Rep. Diane Black to co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940, to ensure that the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion is protected for everyone.  This is just one more way Obamacare violates our rights and freedoms and one more reason to repeal it and replace it.”

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Lummis Works for Wyoming Jobs, American Energy Security

2014/06/26

Today, the U.S. House passed H.R. 4899: the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act, legislation cosponsored by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis. H.R. 4899 includes a package of bills to expand both onshore and offshore energy production by streamlining oil and gas leasing and permitting. To increase development on federal lands onshore in states like Wyoming, the bill streamlines the federal land oil and gas leasing and permitting processes that have lagged under the Obama Administration to the detriment of local jobs and revenue for the federal, state, and local governments. For Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S Energy Information Administration reported a 9% drop in natural gas production on federal lands and estimates that total sales of fossil fuels from production on federal and Indian lands decreased by 7%. The bill also allows local Bureau of Land Management offices to keep a portion of the permitting fees they collect so they can retain the personnel they need to process permits and leases for all types of energy in a timely manner.

“Even as President Obama tries to take credit for the energy boom on private lands, his policies are stifling energy production on federal lands in Wyoming and the west,” said Rep. Lummis. “The American energy boom has come in spite of the President’s policies, not because of them, a trend this legislation will reverse in order to get our public lands back to work for Wyoming and the American people. We are sitting on abundant, untapped energy reserves with the know-how to responsibly develop them consistent with our multiple-use tradition. The bill’s expansion of the pilot program to keep permit fees in local BLM offices is crucial for Wyoming, where energy production finances the lion share of the BLM budget and could finance even more if we can help local offices obtain the right staffing and expertise. The result is growth in local jobs, economy, revenue for all levels of government, and relief for low- and middle-income Americans at the gas pump and when they flip on the light switch.”

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Lummis, Walz Introduces Bi-partisan Trails Bill

2014/06/18

Today U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) introduced the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2014. Last June, the Government Accountability Office released a report that outlined the immense challenges to maintaining the 158,000 miles of trails in the Forest Service trail system and wilderness areas. The Forest Service is only able to maintain to standard about one quarter of the total miles of trails used for hiking, biking and other activities and close to two-thirds of the trails receive no maintenance at all.

The GAO report recognized the importance of volunteers for trail maintenance and recommended taking steps to improve management of volunteers. The Lummis/Walz bill focuses on four ways to make better use of existing resources within the Forest Service and to bring in outsiders to help address the backlog. The act requires a national strategy to maximize use of volunteers and partners and addresses liability concerns that restrict outside groups and individuals working on the trails. The bill also directs a study be done on utilizing fire crews for maintenance work during off-seasons and a study be done on permits for outfitters and guides to offset some fees through work on trail maintenance.

“As we look to stretch taxpayer dollars during these tight fiscal times, we need to make sure we maximize use of all our existing resources,” said Rep. Lummis. “The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act will do just that. Refocusing on volunteers and partners to help the Forest Service is a sure fire way of making progress on the backlog and opening up these trails to public access. The studies into utilizing fire crews during off season and letting outfitters work off some of their fees will help make sure we leave no avenue untested to clean up our trails.”

“From hikers to bikers, recreationists across the country utilize 158,000 miles of National Forest System trails every day for exercise, relaxation, and exploration. Though public use remains high, close to two-thirds of these trails don’t receive any maintenance whatsoever because our Forest Service simply lacks the resources to keep up,” said Rep. Walz. “That’s why I am proud to join Representative Lummis to introduce the bipartisan National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. This bill will give the Forest Service the flexibility it needs to maintain our national treasures while maximizing existing resources. Protecting our public lands for future generations is our responsibility, and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

“The American Motorcyclist Association thanks Reps. Lummis and Walz for introducing legislation to increase off-highway-vehicle access on our national forests,” said Wayne Allard, Vice President of Government Relations at American Motorcyclist Association. “During a time of shrinking budgets when the maintenance backlog on USFS managed lands exceeds $500 million, this bill would increase the use of volunteers to keep trails open and maintained for a fraction of the cost. We look forward to working with Reps. Lummis and Walz to increase the use of volunteers on public lands so all Americans can enjoy them.”

“America Outdoors Association is grateful to Representatives Lummis and Walz for recognizing the need for a comprehensive strategy to deal with the degrading trail infrastructure on public lands. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act is an important step toward developing a comprehensive strategy to maintain access to our public lands,” said David Brown, Executive Director of America Outdoors Association, a trade association of America’s outfitters and guides. “Without a comprehensive trail maintenance strategy, recreational access to National Forest lands will continue to shrink as trails are closed and opportunities to experience America’s spectacular public lands contract. America’s outfitters and guides thank Representatives Lummis and Walz for introducing this much-needed legislation. We look forward to working with Congress as the bill moves forward to find a way to harness the skills of outfitters and guides who know the backcountry so well.”

In a press release in March, The Wilderness Society and the Back Country Horsemen of America spoke of the need for Congressional action on the trail maintenance backlog.

Please click here for the full bill.

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Lincoln County Office Hours

2014/06/02

Senator Mike Enzi, Senator John Barrasso and Congressman Cynthia Lummis are announcing that their field representatives, Reagen Green, Sandy Da Rif, and Pat Aullman are scheduled to hold “Office Hours” in Lincoln County at the following times and places on Friday, June 6, 2014:

Afton City Hall

416 N Washington St

Afton, WY 83110

11:00 to 12:00

 

Star Valley Ranch Town Hall

181 Vista Dr.

Thayne, WY 83127

2:00 to 3:00

 

Area residents are encouraged to visit with the representatives to discuss issues or views regarding the federal government.  These ideas and concerns will be relayed to,

Senator Enzi, Senator Barrasso and Representative Lummis.

 

If you have any questions please contact

Pat Aullman at 883-1088.

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In Light of Scandal VA Secretary Resigns

2014/05/30

Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Eric Shinseki, has resigned over the scandal involving veterans’ hospital appointment delays used to “game” the system. Shinseki has said he is going to fire many of the VA administrators involved in the scandal at the Phoenix office where it is estimated that 40 veterans died due to delayed care before he leaves office. Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will take over as acting Secretary while President Obama looks for a long-term replacement. It is unclear how many veterans’ health issues have been exacerbated by being put on the secret “wait lists”. The Cheyenne VA Hospital is currently under investigation for participating in this common scheduling trick that was used at the expense of Wyoming Veterans.

“This is front-and-center in Congress and it is about time the President treated this as the serious issue that it is,” said U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis. “But clearing out the weeds is not enough. I have supported increased funding for veterans but no amount of money can change the culture of apathy present in VA medical centers throughout the country. We need new leadership to ensure the focus is on veteran care. We need a VA Secretary who will make the process transparent and be willing to work with congressional oversight to see that this systemic abuse of our veterans never happens again. We need to do this for our veterans; we owe it to them.”

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Johnson County Office hours

2014/05/30

DeAnna Kay, Brianna Straub, and Matt Jones, Field Representatives for U.S. Senators Michael Enzi and John Barrasso and Congressman Cynthia Lummis are scheduled to hold “Office Hours” in Johnson County at Kaycee, and Buffalo during the following times and places:

Kaycee
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Town Hall
268 Nolan Avenue


Buffalo
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Johnson County Library
171 N Adams Avenue


Area residents are encouraged to come to discuss issues or views, questions or concerns with Kay, Straub and Jones regarding the federal government. These comments and concerns will be relayed to Senator Enzi, Senator Barrasso and Congressman Lummis.

If residents are unable to attend at that time, but would like information or assistance, please contact these offices at:

Senator Enzi’s Gillette office at 307-682-6268
Senator Barrasso’s Sheridan office at 307-261-6413
Congressman Lummis’ Sheridan office at 307-673-4608
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Lummis Condemns 500,000 Acre Presidential Land Grab

2014/05/22

President Obama, citing the Antiquities Act, unilaterally designated nearly 500,000 acres in New Mexico as the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument. U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis released the following statement in response:

“The President has disregarded public input and public problems by single-handedly taking over management of this portion of New Mexico. This will hurt local economic opportunities and even worse limit the abilities of border patrol agents in an area with known drug and human trafficking problems. The federal government cannot effectively manage the acreage they already have. It is absurd for the President to take on even more land.”

Back in March the House passed H.R. 1459: Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation (EPIC) of National Monuments Act. This bill, which awaits consideration by the Senate, places additional requirements on a President using the Antiquities Act.

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Western lawmakers introduce legislation to protect sage grouse, responsible land use

2014/05/22

Today, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., joined Representative Cory Gardner, R-CO, in introducing the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act. This legislation would prevent the sage grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act for 10 years and allows states to develop conservation management plans to meet the unique needs of the sage grouse in each state. The Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act requires the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to work with states throughout the species management process to ensure that all concerns about the recovery of the sage grouse are met.

“The State of Wyoming has worked tirelessly with stakeholders over many years to protect the sage grouse. These efforts have already proven that conservation plans created by states, and local groups, work better to protect habitat and increase sage grouse population than top-down federal plans,” said Enzi. “This bill will help ensure western states continue to manage their own sage grouse populations, letting them take into account the distinct management needs within their own borders.”

“States like Wyoming are already leading the way when it comes to protecting species on the ground—including the sage grouse. The last thing states need are more one-size-fits-all regulations from Washington that won’t help species and will devastate local economies,” said Barrasso. “By forcing Washington to stay out of the way, this bill puts Americans who live in these communities and know what works best in charge of managing the land and wildlife. It also gives states the tools they need to develop a sound conservation plan and ultimately prevent the sage grouse from being listed—a win-win for wildlife and our economy.”

“Wyoming has been the leader on sage grouse conservation, developing a balanced conservation plan that puts actual boots-on-the-ground to both protect sage grouse and allow for the responsible use of our lands,” said Lummis. “Other western states in the sage grouse range are following suit in developing their own plans geared towards the unique needs of sage grouse within their borders and conservation efforts that will be far more effective than a one-size-fits all federal solution. Our bill facilitates these unprecedented state efforts and prevents them from being undermined by a federal listing.”
Click here for a copy of the bill.

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Contact Information

113 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2311
Fax 202-225-3057
lummis.house.gov

Cynthia Lummis (pronounced “Luh-miss”) was elected to represent the people of Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.  She was raised on her family ranch in Laramie County and graduated from the University of Wyoming with bachelor degrees in Animal Science and Biology. In 1979, Cynthia became the youngest woman ever elected to the Wyoming Legislature. She returned to the University of Wyoming for a law degree, which she received in 1985.

 

Cynthia then clerked at the Wyoming Supreme Court, practiced law in Cheyenne, and served a total of fourteen years in the Wyoming House and Senate, concentrating on natural resource and taxation issues. She completed her legislative service in 1994 and then chaired Governor-elect Jim Geringer’s transition team. She continued to work in the Governor’s office for two more years, primarily on natural resource issues. Cynthia also served as the interim Director of the Office of State Lands and Investments.

Cynthia was elected Wyoming State Treasurer in 1998. In eight years (two terms) as Wyoming State Treasurer, she converted Wyoming’s primarily fixed income investment portfolio of $3.5 billion to a fully diversified portfolio of equities, real estate and fixed income investments, public and private, domestic and international, totaling $8.5 billion. Her term of office as State Treasurer ended in January 2007.

 

Cynthia continues to be involved in the daily operations of the Lummis family ranch. She and her husband, Al Wiederspahn, a former Wyoming legislator and Cheyenne attorney, have one daughter, Annaliese.

As the sole House Representative for the state of Wyoming, Cynthia is a staunch advocate for fiscal responsibility, limiting the size and scope of the federal government and developing our nation’s domestic energy capabilities. Cynthia is a member of the House Natural Resources, Oversight and Government Reform and Science, Space and Technology Committees.


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