Barrasso addresses national water issues at meeting
Lander – The theme of the 2012 Wyoming Water Association annual meeting and education seminar was “Managing Water for Extremes.” Senator John Barrasso addressed about 75 people last week about the importance of civic engagement and water in Wyoming during the event.
Attendees of the four-day annual meeting heard from over 17 agencies regarding the state of water across Wyoming.
“Water is a huge part of Wyoming’s farms and ranches,” said Barrasso. “These farms and ranches have survived the Great Depression, droughts, floods and fires. And yet the hardest thing to deal with is actually the burdensome rules and regulations coming out of Washington. People who don’t understand the Rocky Mountain West and why water is such a big issue are making decisions.”
“People who live in Wyoming need to be making the decision about our state,” he continued. “It would it be more useful if the people in Washington had some real life experience. Not what should work because they read about it in a textbook, but what does work.”
One of the most damaging law changes regarding water had to do with the changing the word “navigable” about what waters of which the federal government would be in charge.
“We went to war with that issue,” Barrasso said. “To the point that the members of the House and Senate who proposed the change lost their re-election bid in 2010. We were not only able to defeat that law, we were able to defeat the people who were proposing it. It is essentially hand-to-hand combat to protect the things that are important in Wyoming.”
Barrasso says that he takes Wyoming’s Code of the West and applies it to the politics in Washington, D.C. – especially number 10: know where to draw the line.
“I have found the best town meeting of all,” Barrasso says, “is the back parking lot while tail gating before a University of Wyoming football game. You get news from all over the state.”
Barrasso ended by quoting Ronald Reagan from his 1982 speech at the University of Wyoming, saying, “The thing I love about Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West is that the people here still believe that the future is ours to create.”
Melissa Hemken is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.