During tonight’s Congressional debate, Democrat Chris Henrichsen attacked Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis for losing hundreds of millions of dollars of Abandoned Mine Lands money that were destined for Wyoming.
Coal-producing states receive AML funds in order to pay for mine reclamation, but Wyoming used a portion of the money for buildings, infrastructure and other projects. This fall, Congress voted to severely limit the amount the Cowboy State gets.
Henrichsen says Lummis failed in her duties because she failed to stop the measure.
“The 770 million dollars that were supposed to come to Wyoming from the AML funds are money that we had paid into it – it was money that was owed to Wyoming,” Henrichsen said. “And it’s essentially the responsibility of the Wyoming delegation to make sure that the state of Wyoming has coming to it what we have paid into it and what is owed to us.”
Lummis says she tried to protect the AML funds, and she blames other members of congress for “stealing” money that is rightfully Wyoming’s.
“If Wyoming were asked, as part of a huge overall package to eliminate our debt and our deficit and to throw that money in the pot to solve it, I’ll tell you I believe our delegation would say, ‘You bet: Wyoming’s going to do its fair share,’” Lummis said. “But this money was taken from Wyoming, and Wyoming alone.”
Both candidates said they would fight to restore AML funds.