Earlier this week we learned of the passing of former Senator Mike Enzi, who represented Wyoming in the U.S. Senate for more than 20 years.
Mike was an absolute giant in our state and his sudden loss just months after retiring from the U.S. Senate is difficult for all of us to accept.
I had the privilege of working with Mike for four years in Congress. He was a mentor and teacher and you could be sure any event that included Mike would be better because of his intellect, his dedication, determination and wonderful dry sense of humor. His love of Wyoming was surpassed only by his love of Diana and his kids and grandchildren.
Mike was a straight-shooter, an honest broker, and a soft-spoken but powerful advocate for the causes he cared deeply about. Whether it was pushing for fiscal discipline as head of the Senate Budget Committee or fighting for the needs of Wyoming’s energy industry, Mike was always guided by principle and conviction. His worldview was shaped by the lessons he learned during his formative years when he served the people of Gillette as the city’s Mayor and in both chambers of the state legislature, and those core beliefs never wavered throughout his 20 years representing Wyoming in the U.S. Senate. He also took great pride in his office’s topnotch constituent service operation, continuing the tradition of federal lawmakers working tirelessly on behalf of the needs of the people of Wyoming that lives on to this day.
Mike loved Wyoming’s magnificent outdoors and he was a firm believer that a fly rod and a day on the river could fix just about anything.
While we mourn his passing, our condolences go out to his wife of more than 50 years, Diana, his three children, and his grandchildren. The legacy he leaves behind will never be forgotten and his memory will be guide for us long into the future. I ask the people of Wyoming and across the country to join me in extending our most profound sympathies to his family and loved ones.
Introducing Jonah Energy’s Paul Ulrich; Emphasizing Harm Of Biden Administration’s Energy Policies On Wyoming:
On Thursday, I spoke at a forum focused on American Energy Independence hosted by House Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee and the Congressional Western Caucus.
During the forum, I had the honor to introduce Jonah Energy’s Paul Ulrich, and emphasized the harm President Biden’s energy policies are having on Wyoming. You can see below for my introduction of Mr. Ulrich and the questions that I asked of him:
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Well, thanks very much, Ranking Member Westerman, and thanks to you as well, Chairman Newhouse. Thanks for the opportunity to introduce a dear friend and somebody who is doing really important work for Wyoming and for the country. Paul is the Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Jonah Energy in Pinedale. I had the opportunity to visit with him just a few weeks ago about some of the really important work they’re doing on helping to detect emissions and what we can do to use technology for that.
Paul is a fourth generation Wyomingite and a 25-year veteran in our oil and gas industry. He is extremely well-known all across our state, serves on several critical boards and organizations, and he currently serves as Chairman of the Wyoming Energy Authority. He has previously served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and of the BLM Wyoming Resource Advisory Council. Paul is also a member of Wyoming Governor Gordon’s Sage Grouse Implementation Team.
He’s going to be testifying this morning on the contributions the oil and gas industry has made to our state’s conservation efforts and economic well being, and how the regulatory uncertainty and a lack of transparency really has a negative impact on development. So, with that I will turn things over to Paul Ulrich.
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Thank you very much, Ranking Member Westerman. I wondered if Paul Ulrich — if Paul is still on — I wanted to get your thoughts, in particular. If you could give us some more specifics about the impact of the increased royalty rates, increased bonding amounts, the leasing moratorium — really, what specific impact that has with respect to uncertainty and reticence on the part of producers, in particular, natural gas operators and oil operators to invest in development on federal lands. Just give us some sense of — particularly for a state like Wyoming, what that’s likely to mean if we see these policies continue in place.
PAUL ULRICH: Congresswoman Cheney, thanks for the question, that’s near and dear to all of us in Wyoming. Simply put, it, you know — any significant increase or change in royalty rates, cost of doing business from regulatory perspective could be devastating. To put it frankly, Wyoming in federal land production is already at a competitive disadvantage. It takes us longer to get permits, you know, through a myriad of NEPA processes. You know, throughout the years you can see large projects that could take 12 to 18 months to get stood up in a private circumstance, it takes seven to ten years in Wyoming. I’ve experienced more than a few of them — Congresswoman, you’re very well versed on a couple of them. So, the bottom line is: it’s more expensive, it takes longer to compete, from a Wyoming federal land perspective. So, anytime that cost is raised and timelines aren’t shrunk, it could have very, very significant impacts on capital deployment. In addition to that, if we do see regulatory or policy changes that, once again, only target federal operators and raise the cost of us doing business, you know, and employing and responding to those regulations, it could have that equal and negative impact as well. Economically, it’s very, very difficult for us to compete. We’re further from market for sand and pipe. It’s more expensive. It takes longer for us to get permits, and anything that negatively impacts that makes it worse. We’d like to see that trend change and go the opposite direction, given how responsible we can produce energy in that country.
REP. CHENEY:Well, thank you for that, and given that we are in this unfortunate situation where we know we’re going to have bad policies continue to come from the Biden Administration on these issues, can you give us some advice about steps Congress can take, at least in the near term, to create some more certainty for the industry, particularly when it comes to the exploration and development on public lands?
ULRICH: Absolutely. First and foremost, the status quo on royalty rates, etc. is a major issue for us. Working with the Administration to solidify a longer term energy strategy that recognizes how important federal land development is, and incentivizing development on federal land so we can be more competitive domestically, and just as importantly, more competitive globally. We have a tremendous opportunity to export the cleanest natural gas on the planet — we’re developing that right here in Wyoming. The ability to export that and compete on a global level, and meet climate goals is a serious opportunity for federal land producers we should not pass up.
REP. CHENEY:Well, I appreciate that, and really appreciate the leadership role that you’ve taken for us, and that can be a real model for the country. Thank you for the time today, and thanks very much, both to Ranking Member Westerman and Chairman Newhouse for putting on these really important panels and sessions on these key issues. And with that, I will yield back. Thank you.
Bipartisan Bill To Promote Human Rights In Turkey:
On Monday, I joined Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in introducing the Turkey Human Rights Promotion Act of 2021. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would assert that the Government of Turkey must uphold the rule of law by taking steps to end arbitrary killings and torture, improve freedom of the press, permit free expression on social media and in person, promote a fair and independent judicial system, protect lawyers and judges and uphold human rights. The legislation will also be introduced in the Senate by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Human rights abuses intensified in Turkey after a 2016 attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Since then, the government cracked down on freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly to silence journalists, political opponents, dissidents, civil society activists and minorities throughout Turkish society, both within and outside of its borders.
Since 2016, The Government of Turkey has dismissed or suspended more than 60,000 police and military personnel, 125,000 civil servants, one-third of the judiciary, arrested or imprisoned more than 90,000 citizens and closed more than 1,500 nongovernmental organizations on sham charges.
For too long the Erdogan regime has sought to silence dissent, thought, and expression in Turkey by imprisoning opposition and suppressing human rights. The Erdogan regime must be held accountable for these abuses. I am proud to sponsor this legislation to stand for a free press and denounce the Turkish government for repressing freedom within their country.
New Sailors Making Wyoming Proud:
Congratulations to sailors who were recently sworn in at the State Capitol by Vice Admiral Sean Buck, Superintendent of U.S. Naval Academy! Thank you for your dedication to serving our nation. I know you will make Wyoming and our country proud!
Please follow this newsletter for continued updates about my work in Washington on behalf of the great people of Wyoming.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney