Gordon Says Polar Vortex is Example Why U.S. Needs to Produce More Natural Gas

Gordon said the recent polar vortex is a "prime example that we need to be exploring and producing more gas for existing drilling permits..."

Annaliese Wiederspahn

February 18, 20212 min read

Energy snow

In a letter to Department of the Interior Acting Secretary Scott de la Vega, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon outlined concerns over de la Vega’s Secretarial Order 3395, which is causing delays in routine approvals for oil and gas companies holding valid drilling permits.  

Gordon said the secretarial order’s 60-day pause on new oil and gas authorizations comes “with severe implications that devastate the State of Wyoming’s revenue in the near-term with the potential to spell a long-term blow for our State’s economic wellbeing.”

Contradicting recent comments from the Department of the Interior, Wyoming is experiencing a backlog of actions that would normally be routinely granted by state Bureau of Land Management offices.  

Instead, those decisions are being shuttled to Interior or BLM headquarters in either Grand Junction or Washington, DC for bureaucratic review, causing unnecessary delays and driving up costs.  

“The recent polar vortex is a prime example that we need to be exploring and producing more gas for existing drilling permits, rather than waiting days and weeks to see if a surface drilling pad can be moved to a different location on the lease,”  Gordon said. 

The letter points out that this 60-day pause is not intended to bar existing oil and gas operations, but it does. 

Gordon also expressed displeasure with Interior’s decision to postpone the quarterly oil and gas lease sale scheduled for next month and other decisions based on climate concerns. 

“It is foolish and counterproductive to pit concern for the environment against quality, good-paying jobs when we know we must have both,” wrote Gordon.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter