Two Western congressional leaders say Obama budget continues ‘war on the West’

 The co-chairs of the Congressional Western Caucus are not mincing words about what they think of Obama’s 2014 budget and how it treats states in the West, state’s in which a majority of the land is controlled by federal bureaucracies.

“I am very disappointed that the President has decided to continue his war on the West by piling on new regulations and fees for oil and gas producers in his 2014 budget,” said Congressman Steve Pearce, R-NM. “Oil and gas producers already have to jump through hoops to drill on federal lands, and the provisions outlined in this budget proposal will make it nearly impossible for the industry to develop energy on federal lands. The President loves to take credit for oil and gas development on private and state lands, yet he is dead set on killing exploration and development on federal lands. In addition to his attack on our energy producers, President Obama also made further cuts to the Wildlands fire program, leaving our forests without the protection they need heading into fire season. Last year was one of the worst fire seasons on record, and our forests can’t afford a repeat of last years’ damages.”

“The Department of the Interior’s FY14 budget is quite the parting shot from Secretary Salazar,” said Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, R-NM. “It’s as if they sit around and try to out-do each other on how badly they can hurt Western economies and communities.  Here’s some lowlights: New taxes to hinder development of oil, gas and coal; new fees to feed the insatiable appetite for more red-tape; a completely nonsensical proposal to punish developers for not operating when the federal government blocks them from operating in the first place; a one-two punch of new taxes on hard-working ranchers paired with dramatic cuts in rangeland management, and; a stunning disregard for the needs of the West to fight wildfires.  Some have wondered about the ‘War on the West.’  Here is your proof.”

 The budget would impose a $1 per head per month increase in grazing fees on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service land.

The White House says, “The Budget would repeal over $4 billion per year in tax subsidies to oil, gas, and other fossil fuel producers,” which are really tax breaks provided to every other industry and not checks from the Treasury. It also seeks to soak the oil and gas industry by taking another $2.5 billion over the next 10 years in royalties on public land.

The budget also throws billions more tax dollars at wind and solar projects that require locking up thousands of acres of public land: “Builds on the Administration’s success in reducing our use of oil, promoting energy efficiency, and doubling U.S.renewable electricity generation by increasing funding for the Department’s clean energy technology activities by over 40 percent above the 2012 enacted level.”

28 comments on “Two Western congressional leaders say Obama budget continues ‘war on the West’

  1. A.D. Hopkins says:

    Gotta say that grazing fees were pretty darned cheap last time I looked — much cheaper than what many of the same ranchers pay for private grazing lands.

  2. Vernon Clayson says:

    Mr. Mitchell, you write of Obama’s war on the west of this nation, and rightly so, but he is also waging war on western civilization, commencing with the nation he governs. A few members of the Congress may speak against his policies, you mentioned two, but the vast majority of members of both bodies of the Congress, plus the news media, are willingly complicit. We are fed a daily diet of Obama at ease, golf and social events, plus his patient explanations of what is best for us, but they are the false front for what is happening behind the scenes in his “fundamental transformation”. There are any number of persons of far more depth than Obama behind these dramatic changes, no single individual, much less he, could plan, develop, sell, and carry them out in the time available to him in the hours, days, weeks, months, required. He is image rather than substance, marched out as exclamation, not explanation, for machinations we cannot imagine.

  3. Yes, but I wager the private grazing land is better kept up.


  4. Well said, sir: “He is image rather than substance, marched out as exclamation, not explanation, for machinations we cannot imagine.”


  5. Steve says:

    Did some reading a few months back on private vs public grazing lands and fees.
    Public lands have no fencing, no water supply other than whatever is naturally occurring, grazing only if plant life is good.
    Private operations all have fencing and they keep it up. Water is maintained and guaranteed available they even truck in feed if needed.
    Of course all these services come with varying costs and those are reflected in the fees paid by ranchers.
    The price of public grazing lands is increasing, is there any increase in service commensurate with the fee increase? Or is the increase only because private fees are high enough they can get away with it while making no offer of services other than access.

    A.D. its all a matter of what you get for the money.

  6. nyp10025 says:

    What is your objection to charging what the market can bear?

    Gotta say, though, I get a kick out of the racially-tinged paranoid comments about President Obama being a lazy freeloader who simply isn’t capable of formulating detailed policies on his own but who must be the puppet of powerful, shadowy manipulators. Tell us, Mr. Clayson, who are these powerful people manipulating the President in pursuit of their hidden agenda? The Rothschilds? Opus Dei? The Illuminati?

  7. Rincon says:

    While I agree that the feds need to give up some of their land, until they do, they should charge what the market will bear for grazing land. If the government pulls in less instead of more dollars in grazing fees, then they’re too high. If not, then his decision was a good one.

    As for “piling on new regulations and fees for oil and gas producers”, let’s hear the details, not just Conservative grousing in general. Perhaps these fees are merely a way of stopping a free ride on the backs of the taxpayers. How do we know? Also note that the complaint is about a BUDGET bill. So how many “new regulations” are there in a budget bill? I suspect few to none.

    Steve Pearce’s assertion that this will “make it nearly impossible for the industry to develop energy on federal lands” sounds very much like a normal politician making a payback for his campaign contributions. Again, there are no details, just whitewashing.

    Any good Conservative should be grateful that Obama is cutting the wildlands fire program. You guys are big on states’ rights. As an Illinoisan, I think controlling wildfires should be funded and operated by the states, which means I would no longer have to pay for fire control a thousand miles from my home.

  8. Steve says:

    Nyp, IF the lands are “OURS” (As in “These are your public lands” we all see the signs on the roads) then there should be no fee for use.

  9. nyp10025 says:

    This idea that publicly-held assets should be subject to open exploitation without a market-driven fee is absolutely crazy, and contrary to the basic principles of economics.
    The landowner (in this case, the federal government in trust for the citizens of the United States) should charge whatever the market can bear. People who purchase access and exploitation licenses have no special rights to property that does not belong to them.

  10. Steve says:

    Then I should not have to pay taxes to subsidize their use.

  11. nyp10025 says:

    you aren’t. Use of the land is being rented out for a profit that helps defray the cost of running the government. Mr. Mitchell believes that price controls should be imposed in order to make life easier for the purchasers of the licenses. In contrast, President Obama is in favor of a more market-based approach.
    (Or, at least, those Bilderburg Group members manipulating President Obama from behind the curtain favor such an approach.)

  12. Steve says:

    Then my federal taxes are going down? Have to wait and see I guess. Not holding my breath.

    Would not have figured you for a conspiracy buff, Nyp.

  13. Steve says:

    I missed that! “profit”?? I could swear the debt is a little large lately. Maybe the fees are way too low.

  14. Auction off the land to the highest bidder. Sale, not lease.


  15. nyp10025 says:

    We the People choose not to sell off the valuable assets we own.

  16. Steve says:

    This “people” wants to see the check in the mail from all that “profit”.

    Got bills to pay and food to buy. C’mon now where is it?

  17. The land was taken under false pretenses.


  18. nyp10025 says:

    Let’s see now. royalties from oil & gas licenses collect about $10 billion a year.
    Grazing fee revenues are obviously much less — about $13 million annually. Would be more if the government were permitted to engage in capitalism by charging the market rate. But socialists like Thomas Mitchell don’t want that.

  19. Steve says:

    Lets see, government can take money by force (taxes) so government has no need (indeed) no desire to engage in any capitalism. Why do that when they can simply tax it any way they want?

    Fees, taxes, fines and tariffs to name only a few. Such a deal.

    Tax what is needed so we can all see what the true costs are. I know, a dream of transparency never to be realized. Sad so many actually like it this way.

  20. Rincon says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, because I’m not up on this, but it seems to me that when the Louisiana Purchase, the Oregon Treaty, and the Mexican-American War (and Gadsden Purchase)took place, the land was clearly a new acquisition of the United States, not the property of the collection of people that decided to settle there. I assume most present day federal land is land that was not homesteaded. How to transition that land out of federal ownership is a difficult question to answer, but the eastern states never had a chance for their state governments to own and sell large tracts of land. I like the idea of auctioning off that land which would take in significant money, but I’m not convinced that the state governments should receive the money paid.

  21. Steve says:

    Its not that the USA acquired the land its how the territories were admitted into the union as states.

  22. Vernon Clayson says:

    Wow, nyp boasts/bursts with enthusiasm, near emotional pride and maybe a tingle up his leg, that royalties from gas and oil leases bring in 10 billion in revenue while grazing leases brings in 13 million to government annually; the smidgen this is to money flowing to government is beyond calculation by me but it surely cannot be sufficient to keep government programs going for more than a minute or two. As for the powerful people behind Obama, let’s not say it’s the usual suspects he mentions, Rothschilds, Illuminati, etal., let’s say it’s the Congress that failed to properly vet him, has even one of those bozos questioned his qualifications, education, and background or ask why all records of his background are sealed? Nancy Pelosi was noted as saying that the so-called Obamacare “had to be passed to see what’s in it”, from all appearances the entire gaggle in Congress thought the same thing about Obama, they had to allow him to take the office to see what was in him. Obviously they now like things the way they are.

  23. nyp10025 says:

    I see now. On the one hand, Vernon Clayson believes that Congress is inert and compliant with respect to President Obama and his policies, “willingly complicit” in President Obama’s “war on Western civilization.”
    On the other hand, it is also the case that it is President Obama who is inert, manipulated by those shadowly puppetmasters … in Congress!

    The modern conservative mind at work.

  24. Rincon says:

    Appears to be a nice piece of linguistic jiu-jitsu, nyp. I have a hard time dealing with the frequent unfocused rants thrown at Democrats and other liberals. I’m glad to see a suitable reply.

    I haven’t figured out how I stand corrected, but it sounds like the states agreed not to tax federal land. There should be an implied statute of limitations for that agreement under the reasonable man theory of signing contracts. To keep half the land after more than a hundred years does seem unfair, but the land needs to be handed over only to people who are willing to use the land and pay taxes on it.

  25. On this we agree:

    “the land needs to be handed over only to people who are willing to use the land and pay taxes on it.”


  26. Rincon says:

    We’re making progress!!

  27. Athos says:

    Ugh. Liberals are such children.

    It’s the reality, boys!

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