The War on Western Jobs

A Report by the Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses


Senator John Barrasso (WY) and Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01)




The American West is home to significant natural resources, rich farmland, spectacular landscapes and world class outdoor recreation.  It is a land of opportunity and promise that westerners want protected for future generations.  The West, unfortunately, faces many challenges today - drought, housing market collapse, overlapping federal bureaucracies, conflicting regulations, and illegal immigration.  However, the most pressing issue of the day for westerners is jobs.  Federal policies emerging from Washington are making these challenges more difficult.  Too often, federal policies stand in the way of job creation and economic growth.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate in August, at 10.8 percent.  The western region has maintained the highest regional unemployment for the past year.  At the same time, six of the top twelve states with the largest declines in the employment to population ratio since the recession began in 2007 are western states.  According to The Associated Press Economic Stress Index, 3 of the top 5 states showing the most stress in June were western states: Nevada, California, and Arizona. 

 While the reasons for job loss are diverse, Washington’s misguided policies are making matters worse.  After careful review of the policies and regulations emerging from Washington, the caucuses have identified ten specific areas in which Washington’s failed policies and overreaching regulations are destroying western jobs and hurting rural communities. These policies threaten jobs, families, individual freedom and national security. 


  1. Taxing energy use 
  2. Federalizing all surface water within the 50 states and territories
  3. Restricting access to America’s vast reserves of affordable, American oil and natural gas
  4. Imposing “one size fits all” mandates on western communities
  5. Putting a priority on protecting species over American jobs
  6. Blocking a multiple-use policy in our National Forests
  7. Over-regulating coal
  8. Seizing additional private western lands and placing them under control of the federal government
  9. Requiring new federal permitting requirements into new areas of the western economy
  10. Stopping domestic mining in favor of the importation of foreign minerals


This report details each of these job killing policies in more detail, including the economic impact of such policies.  The report’s findings are conclusive:  There is a renewed “War on the West.” This Administration’s anti-business, anti-multiple use agenda threatens western communities.  It is killing jobs and undermining state and local budgets.