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Issue Position: Multiple Use of Public Lands

Issue Position

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

We have to have the ability to use our public lands. This is a state blessed with natural resources and natural beauty; we need to continue to develop both.

My business experience is in the energy industry. I am proud of the effort and progress made in developing the natural resources of this state. Technology has allowed us to retrieve minerals on state and public lands in greater volumes, but with a smaller footprint, which allows us to maintain the scenic beauty that we love here. Protecting the environment is in everyone's best interest, as is the development of the state's resources. We have proven that we can to both.

In 2009, property taxes collected from the mineral industry were $1,362,485,156. In 2010, severance taxes collected from all the mineral industry were $783,767,805. In fiscal year 2010, the oil and gas industry alone paid 1.9 billion dollars to state and local governments in the form of property tax, severance tax, federal royalties, federal lease revenues, state royalties, sales and use tax and conservation mill levy. In 2010, minerals paid 70% of all taxes collected in the state.

The agriculture industry has, in many ways, been the backbone of Wyoming's history, economy and legacy. Still today, when people think of Wyoming, they think of free roaming livestock with a cowboy as their master and guardian. We chose the Cowboy to be our mascot at the University of Wyoming as he represents the independent, hard working nature of the Wyoming citizen. The use of public lands for livestock grazing has been in the best interest of this state since it was a territory. Ranchers and farmers develop water, riparian areas, roads and protect species. It is a documented fact that in the 1920's, ranchers are credited largely for the survival of the antelope, which had been hunted to near extinction. Also, black-footed ferrets, thought to be extinct in the 1980's, were surviving on a Meeteetse ranch. The value of agriculture in the state is 943 million dollars. Our agriculture industry is very involved in agriculture research at the University of Wyoming and other Wyoming community colleges. As our farmers and ranchers continue to carry forward the legacy of this state with the latest advances in science and technology, it only makes sense to me that their continued access and use of public lands be part of the equation in their effort for continued success.

I was reminded recently, as I watched a group of tour buses fuel up at the Popo Agie One Stop in Lander, how important tourism is to this state. 2.8 billion dollars in revenue was generated last year from people who pay to come here and be a part of what we have. They like to go to the mountains and they like to go to the desert. They pull handcarts, and they climb buttes. They hunt for elk and they hunt for dinosaurs. They fish for trout and they fish for peace of mind. Tourism generated 118 million dollars in local and state tax receipts. In order for this industry to continue to grow we have to have access via trails and roads on public lands.


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