Cynthia Lummis: Standing Up For The Jim Bridger Power Plant

in Cynthia Lummis/Column

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By Senator Cynthia Lummis, United States Senator

Wyoming powers America. As the nation’s biggest net energy supplier, we fuel America’s cars and we power the West’s homes. When America achieved energy independence, the Cowboy State was a key driver.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration is trying to undermine our success, and Wyoming’s workers and families will suffer for it.

This is what is going on: During the Trump administration, non-partisan Environmental Protection Agency employees approved the State of Wyoming’s regional haze State Implementation Plan for energy company PacifiCorp’s Jim Bridger Power Plant, located outside of Point of Rocks, WY. 

The Jim Bridger plant is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the U.S. It burns Wyoming coal, which is some of the cleanest burning coal in the world. It is an essential part of our power grid.

PacifiCorp worked diligently with the State of Wyoming and the EPA to make sure the Jim Bridger plant was meeting environmental standards. However, climate czars at the White House do not like American coal. So Biden EPA Administrator Michael Reagan decided to overturn the EPA’s approval, which would shut down part of the power plant.

This jeopardizes the jobs of the over 300 Wyoming employees who work at the plant. According to a new University of Wyoming study, this would also cost our state over $148 million in added value, over $34 million in wages, and over $33 million in taxes.

Governor Mark Gordon has not taken this thinly-veiled attack on Wyoming’s energy sector lying down. Under his watch, Wyoming submitted a revised environmental plan to the EPA. 

But instead of reviewing it, President Biden’s EPA simply sat on our plan and ignored repeated efforts over several months to address it. The EPA delayed so long that their actions violated federal law.

This is precisely the kind of government cronyism that Americans hate. I sit on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the EPA, so I have put a “hold” on President Biden’s appointees, significantly slowing their nomination processes, until the EPA works with Wyoming to address concerns and keep the Jim Bridger plant fully operational.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised. The Biden administration has continuously shown hostility to America’s domestic energy industry and the Wyoming way of life. 

The environmental activists that President Biden hired have put their agenda ahead of science and facts, but I will keep blocking any EPA nominees until the Biden administration comes to the table and works with the State of Wyoming to protect our energy sector, our workers and our families.

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