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An Open Letter to Governor Gordon

HD1 Representative Chip Neiman
May 23, 2023

Dear Governor Gordon, 
Biden’s Bureau of Land Management has issued a new Resource Management Plan to stop all mining projects in the Powder River Basin– the nation’s largest coal producing region and contributor to affordable, plentiful, and clean energy for millions of people.  In reaction, you expressed outrage and “profound disappointment” over this bureaucratic death-blow to our State. 

I’m with you there. It’s outrageous and profoundly disappointing that out-of-touch D.C. pencil-pushers with an unpopular and unscientific agenda have been able to run roughshod over our State for years with little to no resistance.  Respectfully, I urge you to take this matter seriously and fight back with the ferocity it deserves for the following reasons: 

Energy Scarcity and Poverty Will be the Norm. 
Millions of Americans rely on the plentiful power supplied by the Powder River Basin. It’s simple and stark: without reliable power, people will die. 
State and Local Government Funding Will be Severely Depleted.  A few short months ago, you signed into law the largest budget in Wyoming history, setting the new baseline for future state spending. Shuttering the mines of the Powder River Basin will erase upwards of 40% of the State’s funding for school districts, local governments, and essential services. Huge budget increases combined with a drastic loss of the funding we’ve relied on for decades places our people in a dangerous position. 

The Plan Rejects Longstanding Federal Land Use Legal Principles. 
The Bureau’s decision to promulgate the most radical land use plan ignores Multiple Use & Sustained Yield principles as required by several federal land use laws. The agency’s Environmental Impact Statement makes paltry attempts to consider the impacts of their decision on local economies, access to energy, and more. 
In the face of weakness, men with wicked intentions act with boldness. Over the past several years, Wyoming’s leaders have failed to adequately push back against the predations of the Biden Administration. 

Your veto of a 2019 bill that would have initiated a lawsuit against the State of Washington for blocking our lawful access to Asian coal markets demonstrated an unwillingness to vigorously advocate for the industry.  Your veto of last session’s Senate File 13, a bill that would have allowed the Legislature to take Biden to court over illegal federal land use plans, signaled to Biden that he won’t be met with a full-fledged opposition in the Cowboy State as he seeks to destroy our legacy industries. 

Mr. Governor, now is the time to respond with boldness– the kind of boldness that Biden’s radicalized agencies have used to put us in the position we find ourselves in today. 

Representative Chip Neiman House District 1 

Majority Floor Leader, Wyoming House of Representatives