Congressional staffers spend time in Niobrara county


LUSK - The Wyoming County Commissioners Association hosted representatives from a dozen congressional offices during the Natural Resources Tour. The tour for the region which included Niobrara county emphasized the need for appropriate natural resource management which includes energy sector specifically oil, gas and coal. The tour served as an educational tour regarding the socio-economic benefits of appropriate resource management with multiple-use options for both public and private lands.

Congressional staffers visited the Stagecoach museum with a presentation by Twila Barnette on the economy of Niobrara county and surrounding area. A strong connection between the various energy industries and the survival of the small businesses, which in turn support and pay taxes for schools, senior center and hospital districts showed just how interconnected all parts of a county are. Following a down town tour staffers were invited up to the Niobrara country club for a dinner. Following dinner catered by Angry Irishman speakers Rosemary Henry and Gary Bayne further elaborated on the importance of the energy sector to Niobrara county. Henry’s grid reliability speech emphasized the need to look to the future with developing technologies while creating utility reliability with proven technologies.

Bayne gave a history of oil and gas development in the area specifically the Lance Creek field. Oil and gas is not some obsolete sector but a real, thriving and necessary aspect of Niobrara county’s economy.

The next day staffers toured the Dockery ranch. Multiple use was, again, part of the common theme regarding restoration of grasslands, water improvement projects and the role that agriculture plays in Niobrara county.

The weather cooperated for a beautiful weekend and many staffers enjoyed the mild temperatures and sunshine during their time in Wyoming. Many comments regarding surprise at “how much there is” in eastern Wyoming were common. Given the perception of Wyoming in many areas of the country those who attended the tour were happy to help break down misperceptions and show off the people, businesses, economy and nature of Niobrara county. It is hoped that the tour will help staffers, and in turn congressional representatives understand more completely how their policy making in Washington can positively and negatively impact real people, not just nameless faceless corporations and “greedy” energy companies. That working together the natural resources can be not just managed but improved and preserved.