Lummis brings K-12 budget issues to Senate

WYOMING – U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis recently invited Wyoming State Sen. Affie Ellis, R-Cheyenne, to Washington, D.C., so she could testify about the importance of the energy sector to Wyoming’s schools before the Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Lummis is a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, highlighted the effects the current Biden administration’s energy development moratorium on federal lands has had on Wyoming’s economy and educational system.

“I don’t think people understand how significant mineral production is on federal lands in Wyoming,” Lummis said during the hearing. “When there is a prohibition on producing minerals on federal land, that essentially removes 90 percent of production. Oil, gas and coal development is a vital component of education funding in Wyoming, so a moratorium places a tremendous burden on our education system.”

Ellis noted the energy sector contributed over $740 million to K-12 education in Wyoming in 2019. Wyoming is currently facing a $300 million annual deficit in education funding.

“Wyoming leaders recognize the precariousness of revenues derived from energy production,” Ellis said. “We know we can’t control global markets and we know we can’t predict the price of oil, however, we have significant concerns when leaders within our own country attack and undermine our energy economy.”

Lummis also pointed out a letter Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Barlow sent to President Biden explaining damages the moratorium has caused upon students and school funding.