WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Tommy Beaudreau, President Biden’s nominee to be deputy secretary of the Interior. Beaudreau testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Barrasso asked Beaudreau about a number of issues including using vacant allotments for livestock grazing; the Biden administration’s “30 by 30” initiative; alternative funding for maintenance backlog projects; and resuming oil and gas lease sales.
On Using Vacant Allotments for Livestock Grazing:
“Throughout the West, there are hundreds of vacant allotments that could be permitted for grazing activity.
“This would help ranchers and rural economies to be more resilient when disasters or drought strike.
“That’s why, last week, I introduced a bill called the RANCH Act. It stands for Resiliency for Ranching and Natural Conservation Health Act.
“The bill will allow temporary use of vacant grazing allotments during extreme weather events and disasters.
“Currently, many vacant allotments need updated environmental reviews under NEPA.
“If confirmed, would you commit to prioritizing vacant allotments in NEPA evaluations for future livestock grazing use?
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Beaudreau on using vacant allotments for livestock grazing.
On the Biden Administration’s “30 by 30” initiative:
“President Biden issued an executive order establishing a directive to conserve at least 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.
“This does not define what constitutes ‘conservation,’ and it is unclear what percentage of America’s lands would be impacted.
“According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 12 percent of America’s lands are currently, permanently protected.
“To raise that number from 12 to 30, you would need to keep land off-limits to multiple uses equal to seven times the size of the state of Wyoming.
“You’re talking about vast amounts of the United States.
“I’m wondering how the ‘30 by 30’ initiative is consistent with multiple use, private land ownership, and voluntary conservation efforts.”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Beaudreau on the Biden administration’s “30 by 30” initiative.
On Alternative Funding for Maintenance Backlog Projects:
“Last year, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law.
“This law directs the secretary of the Interior to address the maintenance backlog at our national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and at the Bureau of Indian Education.
“These maintenance backlog projects are funded by federal energy revenues.
“If the department ends or restricts leasing and production of oil, gas, and coal on federal land, it will greatly impact these revenues.
“How do you propose to alternatively fund these many important and necessary projects?”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Beaudreau on alternative funding for maintenance backlog projects.
On Resuming Oil and Gas Lease Sales:
“In his first few weeks in office, President Biden issued orders banning new oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands and waters.
“It is estimated that a long-term leasing ban will cost my home state of Wyoming about 33,000 jobs –over $1 billion in royalties and taxes, which is collected annually on oil, gas, and coal production on federal land within our borders.
“This money is a principal source of funding for public education, roads, water projects, and other essential services.
“We need lease sales to resume – and it’s not just Wyoming – it’s the Rocky Mountain West.
“How quickly can we get back to the legally required lease sale process?”