Coal and oil have been important to the economy of Wyoming for most of our history. They will continue to be major contributors to the economy of the future; however we must wean ourselves from dependency on them.
I support the responsible extraction of energy and minerals in Wyoming.
It is not government that is going to control the amount of coal and oil consumed in the future but market forces across the country and globe. People are demanding cleaner energy and businesses are responding to the market. While most of these trends are not readily visible in Wyoming most of our energy is not consumed in Wyoming.
We need to look at the trends that are impacting our customers. When their demand is permanently reduced due to social pressures, it does not matter if we agree with the reasons; the demand for our products will be permanently reduced.
We need to look at promoting uses for coal and oil other than burning them.
Oil and coal can have a bright future if we start using them for making many of the end products that they can create. Oil can be turned into plastics, petrochemicals, cosmetics, lubricants. Coal can be used to make carbon fiber for aerospace and aircraft, automobiles, sporting equipment, fabrics, fertilizer. All of these would help maintain a demand for Wyoming coal and oil producers while creating new job opportunities in Wyoming while helping to stabilize the coal and oil extraction industries.
Wyoming, especially Park County, is sitting on one of the greatest natural gas deposits in the world. I support the responsible drilling and development of this resource. Not only is natural gas a cleaner energy source it is a key component in fertilizer manufacturing. Again, this would be an opportunity to create value added jobs here and help Wyoming agriculture at the same time.
We learned during the coal bankruptcies how vulnerable the taxpayer was when we learned that there was $1.6 Billion in clean up that the taxpayers were looking at having to pay for. We must ensure that taxpayer and environmental protections are in place before licensing new coal, oil, or gas projects. Your Legislature must ensure third party bonding is in place to ensure that wells are properly capped when abandoned and reclamation is completed when mines are abandoned. We must ensure oversight once projects start to maintain compliance.
I support development of alternative power including wind and solar. These are being driven by market demands and we need to catch up. This is not just a demand of liberals on the coast, but even in Wyoming, energy co-ops that offer “green energy” have found a substantial portion of there customers are willing to pay more to use “green energy”.
In 2017, Your Legislature proposed making the sale of electricity produced by wind or solar illegal in Wyoming and fining you through your electric provider (SF 071).
We should embrace these industries of the future, not ban them. These are the high paying jobs that will build the middle class in Wyoming.
I support partnering in research and development of cleaner and more efficient utilization of all energy sources including CO2 capture and injection technologies. Major oil companies like Exxon and new companies like Fuel Cell Energy are working to develop carbonate fuel cells that generate power while capturing CO2. These are technologies that would greatly benefit Wyoming.
Wyoming adapted and became a leader in the last energy boom. Now is the time to embrace the future and become the leaders in the next energy boom.
The future is now and