Lummis questions big tech regulations

WYOMING – Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis was busy last week, cosponsoring or speaking on multiple items that came through Congress.

She started the week by questioning the assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about water and chemical regulations. This came during hearing that focused on the EPA’s plans for addressing PFAS chemicals and Waters of the United States rulemaking.

Lummis credited the previous work done by the Environment and Public Works Committee that allowed the Biden administration and the EPA the necessary resources to protect Wyoming’s waters.

“But the Biden administration continues to push for more power over America’s agriculture and industries in their upcoming WOTUS rewrite,” Lummis said. “Despite nebulous claims to the contrary, the EPA cannot identify any instances of harm caused by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. I am committed to making sure that the Biden administration uses the best available science, and not simply their ideological desire for greater government control, when they propose a replacement rule to regulate Wyoming’s water and waterways to the detriment of our families, communities and businesses.”

This came before Sen. Lummis joined discussions on NASA’s role in international collaboration and competition in space. She discussed the future of the International Space Station, China’s space aggression and debris cleanups in space.

Lummis agreed it is in America’s best interest to keep the future in mind. She also spoke of the importance of developing new relationships going into a new era of space exploration. At the heart of her comments was promise of new profits and economic growth through space exploration. With recent domestic rocket launches towards space, although none of them technically reached space by not leaving Earth’s atmosphere, she said it’s important for Wyoming businesses to look at that potential.

“The space industry is a growing sector and is important to Wyoming as several small businesses supply materials for large projects in both the public and private sector,” Lummis said. “I am committed to establishing policies that will promote access, the sharing of scientific advancements and neighborly attitudes toward other countries’ assets in space. While we embark on new adventures and challenges, it is important to work with other space-faring nations to address critical challenges, such as managing and removing space debris.”

In recent discussion on Capitol Hill regarding social media use, Lummis questioned witnesses who came before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security. She said her top priority was protecting Wyoming children, their mental health and privacy.

Lummis said more must be done to promote responsible social media use; that includes educating parents on how to teach children to avoid the pitfalls of using various platforms.

“These companies surveil the online activity of people in Wyoming and the United States and collect personal information in order to build dossiers that can later be monetized, entirely without their consent,” she said. “Additionally, social media platforms are designed to keep users engaged as long as possible, which can cause harm, especially to children, through things like poor body image and mental health, and addition to using these platforms.”

Lummis demanded answers from Facebook about harmful effects its platform and usage have upon children during a session where Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee and whistleblower, sat before a Senate committee to answer questions. Haugen’s testimony gained traction among cable and online news outlets, which provided scope to Facebook’s reach upon those who use the platform.