Wyoming senator campaigns for Hatch
Politics • Hatch complains environmentalists ‘are taking this country down the primrose path to destruction.’
Published: May 30, 2012 07:59PM
Updated: June 4, 2012 09:40AM
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Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., center, quotes a USA Today article about gas prices as he and other Senate Republicans speak to reporters following a weekly Republican policy luncheon, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. He is joined by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., left, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky at right. The Senate is poised today to vote on a measure to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Another day, and another western senator visited Utah to campaign for Sen. Orrin Hatch on Wednesday.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., joined Hatch for a series of meetings with energy, farm and business groups, a day after Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, spent Tuesday campaigning with him during the Senate’s Memorial Day recess.

“When Orrin Hatch stands up to talk — whether it’s on the Senate floor, or in our closed conferences with just Republican senators — everybody listens. They don’t listen to every senator,” Barrasso told the Utah Farm Federation Bureau in one meeting.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like not having Orrin Hatch in the U.S. Senate, with that conservative, aggressive, thoughtful leadership,” he said. Hatch is facing a June 26 primary against Dan Liljenquist.

Barrasso, chairman of the GOP Senate Western Caucus, and Hatch jointly preached to the choir to groups that, like them, do not like how the Obama administration handles public lands. They said it is too beholden to environmental groups.

“We all know that there are some good things that they [environmentalist groups] want, and we are supportive of them. But I’ll say this: Not many of them, as far as I’m concerned. They are not my favorite people in reality,” Hatch told the Farm Bureau. “I think they are taking this country down the primrose path to destruction.”

Hatch added about Obama, “He has no idea about what our problems are out here in the West.”

Barrasso said federal agencies restrict too much public land to ranching or energy development because they “have gone way beyond the original intent of some pieces of legislation, like the Endangered Species Act.... They are misusing the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act. And those are the fights we wage every day.”

Barrasso said that he and Hatch — as they work out together in the Senate gym on most mornings — often ask each other, “What do we have to stop from happening today in Washington so it doesn’t make life worse for people back home in our states? Those are the battles we are in.”