Holsinger reviews Trump first 100 days as positive for ag
Buffalo – With a crowd of nearly 200 people, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association kicked off their Summer Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Buffalo, proclaiming “The Peaceful Re-Invasion” of Johnson County with the 125th anniversary of the Johnson County Cattle Wars.
A positive attitude accompanied the convention, and when Kent Holsinger, an attorney from Holsinger Law, LLC, reviewed President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office from a natural resources perspective, the momentum for the week continued.
“It’s really fun to see what’s happened in the first 100 days from an ag and natural resources perspective,” commented Holsinger on June 8. “To my surprise, not many people have looked at the first 100 days of this administration from a natural resources perspective. There is a lot to talk about.”
Holsinger explained, “Constitutional authority to regulate water, oil and gas and wildlife has been given to the states, and the past eight years, the Obama Administration has regulated and grown government to a degree that’s almost incomprehensible.”
He noted that the number of regulations in the Federal Register reached 78,000 pages in 2016, a number far beyond any other administration in the history of the United States, and many of these regulations curtail economic activity.
“These regulations harm our economy and our ability to do the job that we do,” he said, listing rules impacting sage grouse, net mitigation, BLM Planning 2.0, waters of the U.S. and more. “The list goes on and on.”
Many news media outlets don’t report on the accomplishments of the administration as they relate to agriculture and natural resources.
“I think the greatest accomplishments – and the greatest shortcomings – of this administration are in personnel,” Holsinger noted.
He emphasized that perhaps one of the most notable presidential appointments was the nomination and approval of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, adding that if the nomination was his only action, it would be noted as an action that significantly benefits the country for years to come.
“Justice Gorsuch has impeccable credentials, boosted by the federalist society,” Holsinger said. “He’s a true conservative, which is refreshing.”
Additionally, Holsinger noted that Trump’s cabinet appointments also show promise as they relate to ag and natural resources. He listed Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions, Environmental Protection Agency Administration Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as all positive for the industries.
“AG Sessions believes in strong military and upholding the rule of law, which is a breath of fresh air,” Holsinger described. “Secretary Pruitt is committed to limited government and empowering the state.”
He commended Secretary Zinke’s military involvement, noting that Zinke is the first Navy SEAL elected to Congress and to serve in the President’s cabinet. Finally, Secretary Perdue’s background as a farmer and rancher, veterinarian and state government official are positive.
However, with Trump’s positive appointments, Holsinger noted there are a number of vacancies yet to be filled.
Using Department of the Interior (DOI) as an example, he said, “There are about 70,000 employees in DOI and about 80 presidential appointments. It’s incredibly hard to steer that ship. This administration needs to get their boots on the ground.”
Additionally, Sen. John Barrasso mentioned nearly 1,000 appointments in need of Senate confirmation, with only 100 nominees.
“We’ve got a long way to go, and this administration needs to hear from all of us that this strategy doesn’t work,” Holsinger said. “It’s inexcusable to not fill those seats or those 70,000 employees are going to be running circles around Secretary Zinke and the dozen folks he has surrounding him.”
“Within his first 100 days, President Trump also issued 33 executive orders, among the very first of which was for every new regulation agencies proposed, they had to remove or pick for removal two regulations,” Holsinger said. “One of the very next executive orders was that agencies had to weigh their actions for impacts on the economy.”
He continued, “These are wonderful changes in regulatory reform.”
President Trump also directed agencies to revoke the Waters of the U.S. rule and directed the Justice Department to stay litigation.
“Thirty-five states, including Wyoming and Colorado, sued to prevent implementation of that rule,” Holsinger said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen executive action that 35 states had to stand up and sue the federal government.”
The Clean Power Plan was also withdrawn, and in his first 130 days, Holsinger noted that President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.
“The Paris Climate Accord is an international agreement, and our Constitution provides that international agreements need to be ratified by the Congress,” he explained. “Our last president didn’t care about the constitution, and he signed the Accord. I’m so glad to see this president taking the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord because we shouldn’t have been in it without the input of Congress.”
Holsinger also cited the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an act that was passed in 1996 and was only used once since its inception.
“CRA has been used 14 times with this Congress and this administration, but we hear virtually nothing about it,” Holsinger said.
When an agency passes a regulation, they are supposed to submit that regulation to Congress for review. When they fail to do so, Congress can revoke that rule under the CRA, which prohibits that agency to ever issue that regulation again, Holsinger explained.
For example, CRA has been used to eliminate BLM Planning 2.0, the stream protection rule and Dodd-Frank requirements that impacted oil and gas.
“We’ve also got some issues like the Affordable Care Act and many more that must be addressed,” Holsinger said.
Holsinger said that the current administration provides hope for the next four years, but more action is required from Congress.
“I’m hearing wonderful things about amending the Endangered Species Act, streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act, infrastructure, job creation and others,” he added.
“The best thing we can do is to be vocal and talk about our issues,” Holsinger commented. “We need to communicate to the White House, our congressional delegation and our peers about the problems that need to be addressed.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.