The Trump Loyalist Threatening To Unseat Liz Cheney Is An Anti-Conservation Zealot

In 2018, pure assets legal professional Harriet Hageman ran for governor of Wyoming on a pledge to “reform federal land administration and entry” and struggle burdensome federal rules.

Public lands have been a hot-button issue in midterm elections throughout the West that yr. Looking and conservation teams had rallied to defeat an anti-public lands bill a yr earlier, launched by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), that might have offered off 3.3 million acres of federal land in 10 Western states, together with Wyoming. And the Trump administration was advancing its assault on public land and environmental protections — what in the end proved to be the most anti-conservation record of any administration in historical past.

In August 2018, the conservation group Wyoming Wildlife Federation hosted a candidate discussion board for the state’s gubernatorial race. When requested about her imaginative and prescient for federal land administration, Hageman voiced her help for transferring management of public lands to states, starting with 1 million acres in Wyoming as a part of a pilot mission, Excessive Nation Information reported on the time.

Hageman’s remark prompted a stir inside Wyoming’s searching, out of doors recreation and conservation communities. After the discussion board, the Wyoming Hunters and Anglers Alliance, then a rising searching and public lands advocacy group, endorsed Mark Gordon, Hageman’s opponent, and the present Republican governor. The group cited the candidates’ views on public land switch in its choice, in accordance with Excessive Nation Information.

Hageman in the end positioned third within the main subject, securing simply 21% of the vote to Gordon’s 33%. Dwayne Meadows, who on the time was govt director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, an affiliate of the Nationwide Wildlife Federation, advised HuffPost that Hageman and different candidates’ hostility towards public lands swung the election in Gordon’s favor.

“I believe it did affect it,” he mentioned of the end result. “I actually do.”

4 years later, Hageman is again on the marketing campaign path, operating to oust GOP Rep. Liz Cheney. Solely this time, her file and views on the federal property are barely a part of the dialogue. As a substitute, the race has largely develop into a referendum on former President Donald Trump and Cheney’s participation on the Home choose committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.

“The voters in Wyoming are so enamored with Trump that anyone who assaults him, akin to Cheney has, that turns into the central difficulty, the place unexpectedly folks aren’t fascinated by what else Hageman would convey to the plate,” mentioned Cheyenne resident Earl DeGroot, a self-declared average Republican, sportsman and member of Hold It Public, Wyoming, a coalition of public lands advocates.

“This whole race is boiling all the way down to Cheney’s work on the Jan. 6 committee,” he added. “I believe there’s so much at stake, and other people aren’t trying on the points.”

Republican U.S. House candidate Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump at a rally on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. Trump endorsed Hageman in the race.
Republican U.S. Home candidate Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump at a rally on Might 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. Trump endorsed Hageman within the race.
Photograph by Chet Unusual/Getty Photographs

Public lands and how you can handle them is a large difficulty in Wyoming, as it’s in all Western states the place the federal authorities owns a big proportion of land. Almost half of Wyoming is federally owned and its out of doors recreation {industry} generates roughly $4.5 billion yearly in shopper spending. A survey by Colorado School earlier this yr discovered that 88% of Wyoming residents think about points involving clear water, wildlife and public lands when deciding who to help for elected workplace. Moreover, 78% mentioned they’d visited nationwide public lands greater than twice up to now yr, and 71% mentioned they help creating extra protected federal websites.

John Gale, conservation director at Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, mentioned public lands are “critically necessary” for searching, fishing and out of doors entry and have been a “unifying drive” lately. However in Wyoming and elsewhere, false claims of a stolen 2020 election have sucked the oxygen out of the room, he mentioned.

“In a spot like Wyoming, public lands used to function prominently,” Gale mentioned. “The politics of the day have distracted from these points, so they aren’t even a spotlight in any respect. And I believe it’s disheartening to see this lack of give attention to actually necessary points that affect folks again dwelling.”

ReTrumplican Flip-Flop

For 3 a long time, Hageman has been sparring with environmentalists, suing federal businesses over land use selections and advocating for transferring management of federal lands to states. It’s a file of anti-conservation, anti-government zealotry that after earned her the nickname “Wicked Witch of the West” amongst environmentalists — a title she embraced.

Come subsequent yr, Hageman might be Wyoming’s new at-large congresswoman and, if she has it her method, a member of the Home committee with jurisdiction over power growth, public lands and wildlife. Polls have proven Hageman with a commanding lead over Cheney. The winner of the GOP main on Aug. 16 is all however assured to sail to victory within the November normal election.

“This whole race is boiling all the way down to Cheney’s work on the Jan. 6 committee. I believe there’s so much at stake, and other people aren’t trying on the points.”

– Cheyenne resident Earl DeGroot

Before everything, Hageman has tied her Senate bid to Trump — a transfer that has required a dizzying degree of flip-flopping. In 2016, Hageman known as Trump “racist and xenophobic” and worked unsuccessfully to strip him of the Republican presidential nomination. Now vying for Congress in a darkish purple state, she is touting her endorsement from Trump, calling him “the best president of my lifetime” and vowing “to do everything in my power to Make America Nice Once more — Once more.”

Hageman has additionally adopted Trump and Republicans’ lead in viciously attacking Cheney for her efforts to carry Trump accountable for inciting the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.

“We’re fed up with the Jan. 6 fee and people individuals who suppose that they will gaslight us,” she shouted at a “Save Wyoming” rally with Trump in June, drawing uproarious applause. “And we’re fed up with Liz Cheney.”

The identical yr that she condemned Trump, Hageman endorsed Cheney’s congressional bid, calling her a “good friend” and a “confirmed, brave, constitutional conservative,” as CNN’s KFile reported. She additionally decried “concerted efforts to drive true conservatives to sit down down and shut up” earlier than including, “these efforts have by no means labored on me and I do know that they won’t work on and haven’t any impact on Liz Cheney.”

With Hageman, Wyoming would get greater than a loyal Trump convert to switch a high nemesis of Trump who, as Hageman appropriately forecast in 2016, hasn’t backed down within the face of monumental strain from her occasion. They’d additionally get a 59-year-old lawyer and rancher who was carrying the anti-environment, anti-government torch and denying the clear realities of local weather change lengthy earlier than Trump ever got here alongside.

“I’ve been preventing for you, and successful, towards the Environmental Safety Company, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and the Division of Agriculture,” Hageman mentioned on the June rally.

Hageman’s marketing campaign didn’t reply to HuffPost’s requests for an interview.

Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks at a rally at the Teton County Fair & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming.
Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks at a rally on the Teton County Truthful & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming.
Photograph by Natalie Behring/Getty Photographs

Proud Environmental Foe

Hageman grew up on a ranch outdoors Fort Laramie, in jap Wyoming, and graduated with a legislation diploma from the College of Wyoming in 1989. She talks typically in regards to the federal authorities and Washington bureaucrats being the best menace to Wyoming’s economic system and life-style.

Over time, Hageman has repeatedly gone to bat towards federal regulators on behalf of farmers, ranchers, {industry}, water districts, and state and native governments. She is presently senior litigation counsel on the New Civil Liberty Alliance, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based agency that has waged authorized battles towards federal emissions and different environmental guidelines, COVID-19 mandates and gun restrictions.

Hageman’s highest-profile authorized struggle occurred within the early 2000s when she was a key participant in Wyoming’s battle towards the Clinton administration’s so-called “roadless rule.” Signed in 2001, the conservation rule prohibits constructing roads and harvesting timber on 58.5 million acres of nationwide forest lands throughout the nation. In 2003, a federal decide in Wyoming blocked the rule from taking impact. A separate court docket reinstated the rule in 2006, solely to have the Wyoming decide once more invalidate it in 2008. A federal appeals court docket upheld the rule in 2011.

Like many conservatives, Hageman is a vocal critic of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), some of the necessary legal guidelines for shielding imperiled crops and animals. In 2009, she represented a coalition of agricultural pursuits and searching guides in a lawsuit towards the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the administration of grey wolves in Wyoming.

Hageman argues that the ESA has develop into a instrument for “radical environmentalists” to “cease growth, management land and water use, and stop the development and upkeep of much-needed infrastructure initiatives.” And he or she has warned that conservationists need to “herald all of the endangered species from all around the world and launch them” in Wyoming.

“They may merely transfer the folks off and herald lions, elephants and cheetahs,” she said in 2011.

Wolves from the Wapiti Lake pack feed on a dead bison in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, in January 2018.
Wolves from the Wapiti Lake pack feed on a useless bison in Yellowstone Nationwide Park, in Wyoming, in January 2018.
Photograph by Jacob W. Frank/Nationwide Park Service through AP

Hageman’s authorized profession has aligned her with among the nation’s most radical anti-federal lands advocates. She served for years on the board of litigation for Mountain States Authorized Basis, a right-wing, industry-funded group as soon as described because the “litigating arm of the Wise Use Movement.” William Perry Pendley, a conservative lawyer with extreme anti-government and anti-environmentalism views, served because the group’s president for practically three a long time earlier than the Trump administration tapped him to guide the Federal Bureau of Land Administration. The so-called “wise-use motion” was a gaggle of anti-government organizations that gained momentum in the 1980s and pushed to boost mining, drilling and logging on federal lands whereas portray environmentalists as home terrorists.

In 2016, Hageman was a keynote speaker on the American Lands Council’s (ALC) annual convention in Salt Lake Metropolis. The Utah-based nonprofit advocates for the “timely and orderly transfer of federal public lands to prepared states for native management that may present higher public entry, higher environmental well being, and higher financial productiveness.” Ken Ivory, a Republican state consultant from Utah and longtime chief of the pro-land-transfer motion, co-founded ALC in 2012 and led it till 2016.

On the convention, Hageman insisted that the U.S. is “transferring to the purpose the place the federal authorities is dictating just about each facet of our lives.” America will develop into a socialist nation if we don’t rein within the federal authorities, she declared.

“Why do we want all these federal businesses?” she requested. “We’re sovereign.”

Hageman has dismissed local weather change as a “scam” and helped advance the right-wing disinformation campaign towards President Joe Biden’s conservation purpose of defending 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. She has repeated conspiratorial speaking factors in regards to the “30×30” initiative being an enormous federal “land seize.” And in her August 2021 opinion piece, Hageman declared with out proof that 30×30 is “deliberately designed to make us but once more depending on international, and infrequently hostile, governments for our power assets” and can “shortly and negatively affect our way of life, housing prices, meals manufacturing, and the setting.”

The Biden administration has dismissed such claims and mentioned it’s dedicated to “collaboration, help for voluntary and locally-led conservation and honoring of tribal sovereignty and personal property rights.”

‘A Rock And A Exhausting Place’

It’s unclear if Hageman’s flip-flop on Trump and Cheney boils all the way down to easy political opportunism. Or if she got here round after the Trump administration took a wrecking ball to environmental safeguards and prioritized fossil gas manufacturing above nearly all the things else. Possibly it’s each.

What is evident is that by June 2020, Hageman had carried out a full 180. That month she was a keynote speaker at an anti-federal lands event that Trump’s Inside Division hosted at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The occasion was organized by the American Agri-Girls coalition and titled “Federal Land Insurance policies: The Good, the Dangerous and the Ugly.” For greater than two hours, Hageman and Myron Ebell, a outstanding local weather change denier and advocate of shrinking the federal estate, have been amongst those that grumbled in regards to the quantity of land the federal authorities owns and railed towards federal land administration businesses, together with the one they have been standing in. Hageman plugged her pitch for pilot initiatives that might give states the authority to handle giant swaths of public land as they see match and earn revenues off these assets over 20- to 25-year durations. She additionally expressed her appreciation for the Trump administration’s land administration priorities.

“Proper now, we’ve an administration in place that desires to vary issues and perceive the importance of those points,” Hageman mentioned. “However I don’t know who’s coming after him and neither do you. We’ve got to guarantee that we’re doing issues at the moment that may have long-term impacts by way of federal land administration.”

Unsurprisingly, Hageman has condemned Biden’s each transfer, together with on power and environmental insurance policies, portray him a “puppet of the novel Left.” She has additionally accused Cheney of “teaming up” with Biden and different Democrats who she says are waging a “war” towards Trump and harming Wyoming’s fossil gas {industry}.

Hageman typically knock Cheney for being vice-chair of the Jan. 6 committee however now not a member of the Home Pure Sources committee, which has oversight over federal land administration businesses. That “demonstrates that she doesn’t have our greatest pursuits at coronary heart, she has her greatest pursuits at coronary heart,” Hageman advised right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza in a June interview.

However for all Hageman’s discuss Cheney being some type of liberal ally, the incumbent is something however. She has confirmed a dependable pro-industry, anti-environment vote, sustaining an abysmal 6% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. In 2017, she voted in favor of a invoice that might have made it simpler for Congress to pawn off management over federal lands to states. She additionally supported Pendley’s nomination to guide the Bureau of Land Administration, calling him a “patriot” who “is aware of as a lot as anybody about land and useful resource points.”

Throughout Trump’s 4 years in workplace, Cheney voted in step with his place 93% of the time, in accordance with a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks during the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing to present previously unseen material and hear witness testimony on July 12, 2022.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks throughout the Home choose committee to research the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol listening to to current beforehand unseen materials and listen to witness testimony on July 12, 2022.
Photograph by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Name, Inc through Getty Photographs

Cheney’s marketing campaign declined to answer HuffPost’s questions in regards to the race, however in an electronic mail identified that she serves as a vice chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, an all-Republican physique that promotes drilling, mining and different growth throughout the West. Moreover, the e-mail famous she has launched laws to, amongst different issues, reform environmental critiques and to “protect private property rights from potential federal overreach that might be part of the Biden Administration’s 30×30 initiative that might lock up public lands.”

In some ways, Cheney and Hageman are in lockstep of their help for extraction and growth on public lands, Dwayne Meadows mentioned. Nonetheless, he and DeGroot agree that Hageman poses a much bigger menace to federal lands in Wyoming and throughout the West.

“If Hageman wins, you’ll get somebody who doesn’t arise and is pragmatic about public lands points,” Meadows mentioned.

DeGroot added, “It’s fairly frankly a selection between a rock and a tough place.”

Mark Squillace, a professor of pure assets legislation on the College of Colorado Boulder, taught Hageman within the Eighties on the College of Wyoming. He advised HuffPost he remembers her as “good, self-confident and well-spoken.” And though he doesn’t bear in mind having an impression of her political beliefs again then, these leanings and her opposition to environmental rules didn’t come as a shock.

What did come as a shock was Hageman’s “embrace of Trump’s lies in regards to the 2020 election and her overt hostility to Liz Cheney for voting her conscience,” Squillace mentioned.

“I believe Harriet is formidable and he or she noticed a gap when Cheney determined to interrupt from Trump,” he added.

Hageman has toed the occasion line in regards to the 2020 presidential election. Throughout a debate in June, she falsely claimed that there are “critical questions on” outcomes — there aren’t; Biden gained — and plugged “2000 Mules,” the discredited documentary by D’Souza that purports to indicate election fraud in a number of key swing states.

“The Wyoming I lived in again within the Eighties and ’90s was a much more tolerant place… I don’t recall many Republicans again then embracing the positions of the right-wing ideologues””

– Mark Squillace, a professor of pure assets legislation on the College of Colorado Boulder

Squillace sees Hageman’s marketing campaign as symbolic of a much bigger political transformation within the state — one he has struggled to make sense of.

“The Wyoming I lived in again within the Eighties and ’90s was a much more tolerant place,” he mentioned. “Certain, it was conservative, however its politics have been libertarian, supporting folks like [former Republican Sen.] Al Simpson and searching favorably on issues of private autonomy like abortion rights. I don’t recall many Republicans again then embracing the positions of the right-wing ideologues that appear to have gained favor in Wyoming at the moment.”

If Hageman defeats Cheney — restricted obtainable polling has proven Hageman main by as a lot as 22 percentage points — it will likely be much less due to her pure useful resource credentials, and extra that she handcuffed herself to Trump and his lies in regards to the 2020 election.

That’s not distinctive amongst Republican candidates in 2022; it’s a trend. However there could also be no race within the nation the place such a technique is extra more likely to work.

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