By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Douglas resident James Quick has been working in energy his whole life. As a result, the Republican said he plans to bring a renewed focus to traditional fossil fuel industries if elected Wyoming governor this fall.
Fourteen years ago, Quick, 56, purchased an oil field company, giving him the confidence he needed to take up the challenge of serving as an effective governor, despite never having worked in politics before.
“I know it’s not easy but it’s not rocket science,” he said. “I can learn and adapt.”
Quick is opposed to the nuclear plant proposed near Kemmerer, saying there are many details about the project that have not been shared with the public. He is opposed to the plant to be built by Natrium despite claims that it will employ coal workers from a nearby mine that is scheduled to close soon.
“I’m not on board with that at all,” he said.
He also said there is “false education” being promoted about fossil fuels and green energy, adding he believes it is impossible to achieve carbon neutrality.
“I’m not opposed to wind and solar, but I do question whether those producers would be doing it without government subsidies,” he said.
Quick is also opposed to a pilot program being implemented to study hydrogen production in Wyoming, saying it will eat up valuable water rights and hurts farmers through the use around 1 million gallons of water a day. In 2021, Black Hills Energy was named a finalist by the Wyoming Energy Authority to receive funding for a hydrogen demonstration pilot project in Cheyenne.
“We’re selling out to the corporations and billionaires,” he said. “We need to keep Wyoming Wyoming.”
A study from energypost.eu found water costs under hydrogen production amount to less than 2% of the total hydrogen production costs, while the energy consumed for water desalination amounts to only about 1% of the total energy needed for the hydrogen production.
Quick said he would also try to support Wyoming’s farmers by serving more local beef in the state’s schools.
In many ways, Quick said, he has lived the American dream. After graduating from Douglas High School, he joined the Marines in 1984 and was honorably discharged.
Quick started his career in energy working in uranium, which was followed by coal, pipeline work, and eventually running his own business. Although he admitted he may not always have all the answers, he said he is always willing to listen and learn.
“I’m open for suggestions from anybody,” he said. “It takes more than one person to do this.”
One of his biggest goals if elected, he said, would be to safeguard Wyoming from federal overreach. He pointed specifically to President Joe Biden’s “30×30” plan to conserve at least 30% of U.S. land and waters as an example of this problem.
Although he does not agree with fellow gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell that Wyoming has the authority to seize back all 30 million acres of federal land within the state, he said he would support such a measure if it was possible.
“I would love to see control of the land returned to Wyoming because we could open up a lot more drilling in the state,” he said.
Quick criticized Gordon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he would not have issued any restrictions that resulted in the temporary closures of businesses. He vowed not to take similar action if elected if a public health emergency occurred.
“We declared a state of emergency even though Wyoming had very few cases,” he said. “We gave the power away.”
Quick, who is an adamant supporter of the Second Amendment but is not pro-choice, said he loved the freedoms he enjoyed growing up in Douglas and Casper and wants to be able to offer those same liberties to his grandchildren.
“As the governor, you work for the people, I think a lot of politicians have forgotten about that,” he said.