Originally published by E&E News
When it comes to cracking down on environmental rules, President Trump has a friend in rookie lawmaker Liz Cheney.
For the Wyoming Republican and older daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, promises to rein in regulatory “overreach” and to revive the coal industry were central to her 2016 campaign. Now that she’s getting settled on Capitol Hill, she’s poised to assist the Trump administration in its efforts to drastically scale back federal environmental regulations.
U.S. EPA was constantly in Cheney’s crosshairs on the campaign trail.
“They’ve become bloated, they’re operating in an unconstitutional fashion, they’re failing in their fundamental mission, they’ve been captured by environmental radicalists, and we really are in a situation today where Congress has got to begin to exercise control and ultimately move toward much more state involvement,” she said in a debate last summer, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.
Cheney has also called for a “revolution on regulations,” the Associated Press reported last May.
Now, the House freshman has a shot at turning her campaign trail rhetoric into laws.
Cheney, 50, only recently moved into her new office in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The energy page on her website isn’t yet flush with details, but the one photo posted there — a picture of an oil rig — gives an indication of her priorities.
Her winning race last fall was her second shot at snagging a seat in Congress. In 2014, she tried — and failed — to unseat popular incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi in the Republican primary.
Cheney dropped out of the Senate race months before the primary. Throughout that campaign, she had been hit by charges that she was a carpetbagger because she had lived and worked for years in the Washington region — including stints in the State Department during the George W. Bush administration — despite her family’s Wyoming roots.
Cheney is Wyoming’s sole representative in the House, occupying the seat her father held from 1979 until 1989, when he became President George H.W. Bush’s Defense secretary.
She landed a prime spot on the House Natural Resources Committee, with seats on subcommittees that oversee federal lands and energy and mineral resources. She’s also on the Armed Services and Rules committees.
“She’s never going to come up for air, and I feel for her because those are very demanding assignments,” said retired Wyoming Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis, whose seat Cheney filled.
“I am cheering her on from 2,000 miles away and hoping that all goes well for her,” added Lummis, who’s back in Wyoming. “She’s extremely capable and she’ll handle it well.”
Cheney’s hires so far include Chief of Staff Kara Ahern, who was campaign manager for Cheney’s Senate bid and a former aide to Dick Cheney; legislative director Scott Hughes, a former staffer for ex-Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.); and communications director Amy Edmonds.
In her first month on the job, Cheney has already introduced several environmental bills.
They include a measure to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act and a bill to undo one of the Obama administration’s signature federal land management rules.
Cheney is making it a priority to “rein in out-of-control federal bureaucracies, reduce unconstitutional power grabs by agencies such as the [the Bureau of Land Management] and EPA, and restore authority over our public lands to our county commissioners and other local elected officials,” Edmonds told the Billings Gazette last month.
One of Cheney’s early moves in Congress has already prompted pushback from hunters back in her home state.
Wyoming sportsmen’s groups complained this year when she supported a measure that would make it easier to transfer federal public lands to states, according to the Gazette.
Ryan Greene, the Democratic candidate for Congress who lost to Cheney last fall, criticized his opponent for her views on climate change and her pledges to boost the coal industry.
“I believe a lot of what Ms. Cheney said was just campaign promises with no evidence that she or Trump could bring back coal,” Greene said in a recent interview.
He noted that Cheney had referred to “junk” climate science on the campaign trail.
She told Wyoming radio station KOWB last year, “I think that [the Obama administration’s] assertions about climate change are based on junk science.”
In that interview, Cheney called for pursuing an “all-of-the-above energy strategy.”
She added that the Obama administration had enacted “massive government favoritism for renewables” and was operating in a “fantasy world” where “they think that renewable sources of energy will be able to provide the electricity and the energy that we need to function as a nation. That’s simply not the case.”
Cheney’s office declined requests for an interview.
Reprinted from E&E Daily with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2017. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net.