Gardner Meets with Attorney General Nominee William Barr

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today met with President Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr ahead of his confirmation vote. Gardner released the following statement after their discussion regarding the federal response to the Gold King Mine spill, marijuana policy and the STATES Act, and the Department of Justice’s role in protecting American intellectual property around the world, among other topics:


“It’s been more than three years since the Gold King Mine spill contaminated the Animas River and leaked heavy metals downstream, causing irreparable damages to our communities. Since then, I’ve worked closely with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to facilitate the federal response required to address a problem of this magnitude. Unfortunately, Coloradans have been stuck in a holding pattern for years waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to adjudicate their claims. During today’s meeting, Mr. Barr assured me that under his leadership the DOJ will expeditiously review claims to provide compensation to those deemed damaged as a result of the spill. We have a duty to continue fighting for those affected by this disaster.

“We also discussed the disconnect between federal and state marijuana laws, which Mr. Barr eloquently described during his confirmation hearing. In particular, we discussed how my STATES Act would provide a state-based solution to the conflict between federal law and those 47 states that allow some form of cannabis. The bipartisan, commonsense bill ensures the federal government will respect the will of the voters – whether that is legalization or prohibition – and not interfere in any states’ legal marijuana industry. Mr. Barr agreed that the current situation is untenable and that the DOJ should not use resources to go after legal marijuana operations.

“In addition, we talked about the DOJ’s role in defending American intellectual property rights. We discussed how my Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which will establish a long-term U.S. strategy for Asia, includes important protections for holders of American intellectual property rights, and calls on the President to take ‘all appropriate action to deny and punish cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property.’ Mr. Barr agreed that there is much work to do to ensure that American intellectual property is protected around the globe, especially in China.  ARIA will put more tools at the disposal of the executive branch to take strong actions against these crimes.

“I intend to support his nomination and I look forward to working together on issues important to Coloradans and other efforts to keep Americans safe.”  




Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.