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Cheney addresses packer concentration, conservation

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Packer concentration, conservation plans and carbon capture are a few issues facing agriculturalists and consumers, especially in western states. Wyoming House Representative Liz Cheney recently addressed some of these issues and provided input from her position in Congress in a recent meeting with the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.  

Cheney noted with many of the big issues, both sides have generally been able to push past their disagreements. Because of this, there have been a number of times shared bipartisan partnership is valued, but conservative ideas don’t come through in final products.  

“During the campaign, Biden said he was going to help agriculture, and now it gives us some leverage to hold him accountable,” she said.  

Packer concentration 

“Packer concentration is one of the big issues we have focused on recently, especially with COVID-19,” Cheney said. “A year ago, an investigation was started and members from cattle producing states have been focused on trying to push the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture on this issue.”  

She continued, “It’s a slow process because of the influence of the packers to a large degree, but I think as we come out of the pandemic, people realize the impact this has had and continues to have. We realize we have more ability to push on this issue.” 

Without intervention, Cheney expects the meatpacking collusion to worsen. To help combat the issue, Cheney recently introduced a bill to prevent quorum shopping. 

“This means any meat-related lawsuits would have to be brought to where the product is or in Washington D.C., so the plaintiff can’t shop around for a liberal court,” she explained.  

30×30, conservation legislation 

While many have defended the 30×30 Plan to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s land and waters by 2030, Cheney shared it is only safe to assume the plan, now renamed the America the Beautiful Act, is a land grab.  

She explained she has interpreted the plan as 30 percent more than current conservation by the year 2030, and is looking for clarification in the near future.  

“I think the administration is having some internal debates about this because they have obviously been slow to put meat on the bone,” she stated. “There is already a lot of work going on now to try to show how much land is already preserved, what conservation is happening currently and why we don’t need more federal land set to the side. We are working on this, and it’s something we are going to resist and fight against, and part of it is just going to be education.”  

Additionally, she shared Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has introduced around five bills pertaining to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Cheney plans to introduce corresponding bills in the House. 

“These bills are focused on streamlining NEPA,” she noted.  

Carbon capture 

“I think we have a real opportunity in carbon capture to show the rest of the country what is possible and what Wyoming has been doing,” Cheney said. “In the last few weeks, we’ve questioned a test center about a new grant to focus on carbon capture technology experimentation, and Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR), the ranking republican member of the Natural Resources Committee visited technology in Gillette and the Jonah Field to look at emission technology.” 

She shared, there have been some proposals for carbon credits, though so far, nothing has made its way through the House.   

Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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