WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier this week, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced fifth-generation Wyoming rancher and president of the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts Shaun Sims before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Sims hails from Uinta County.
Barrasso invited Sims to testify at today’s hearing on a presidential memorandum issued last year that directs federal agencies to create and implement new sweeping and restrictive policies to mitigate potential environmental impacts of projects the agencies consider.
“Just last year, Shaun and his wife, Lacee, were inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame for their wonderful contributions to agriculture and to their communities in Wyoming,” said Barrasso. “Shaun wears many hats, and offers a unique perspective on the memorandum we are here to discuss today. I think all of us can agree that conservation, and mitigation, are good things. But, there is a fundamental distinction between conservation and preservation.”
“This administration has consistently tried to substitute preservation for conservation, and this memorandum seems to be no different. It is filled with purposefully vague and conflicting terms that I believe will ultimately compromise multiple-use agency objectives, preclude state conservation work, and discourage private investment.” – Sen. John Barrasso.
Sims testified that ranching families are already committed to natural resource conservation and multiple land uses.
“We believe multiple use and conservation of our resources work in concert with one another and not independently. We must make a living from our resources, and we must take care of our resources so that we can make that living,” said Sims. “I am deeply concerned with the November 3, 2015 presidential memorandum…and the implications it may have on my family’s ranching operation and other industries in my state and the west.
“The underlying principles of avoidance, minimization and compensation are generally sound and are already being practiced at the local, state and federal levels.”
Sims also highlighted specific concerns he has with the memorandum’s section on land designations.
“Lastly, the memorandum discusses ‘irreplaceable natural resources.’ I am concerned that this is basically yet one more land designation designed to limit our productive use of our resource base,” said Sims. “There appears to be no shortage of attempts, via ‘designations’ of one sort or another to further limit the ability of farmers and ranchers, as well as other industries, to responsibly develop and utilize our resources.”
In addition to serving as president of the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Sims is a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.