Why is Barassso Locking Up Land?

Posted: Jan 10, 2009 8:39 PM
Republican Sen. John Barrasso is typically a reliable conservative voter in the Senate. In 2007, he had a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union.

So, why does he have a provision in Harry Reid's 1200-page, pork-laden, $10 billion proposal to to withdraw 1.2 million acres of Wyoming land from mineral leasing and energy exploration, where 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 331 million barrels of recoverable oil are estimated to exist?

[See my related story about Reid's bill HERE.]

Barrasso is also teaming up with Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana on a provision to give payments to ranchers whose livestock are killed by wolves and urge them to use "non-lethal" measures to prevent their livestock from being killed by them.

His explanation is sort of an odd, conservative one turned on it's head.

“This was the federal government’s idea to bring the wolf back and most people were against it,” he said. “I want to hold them to the promises that were made when the wolf came back.”

This bill is an omnibus, which means it's a compilation of lots and lots of pet projects sitting on the shelves. Part of Reid's strategy is to give everyone a little bit of something so they'll vote for it.

I guess we'll see how Barrasso stands when he votes.