State Sen. Criticizes Gordon For Partnership With Colorado Dem Governor

State Sen. Cheri Steinmetz said she received a text from Gov Gordon comparing her criticism of his partnership with Colorado Gov Polis to a “noise from a screeching animal.”

Leo Wolfson

July 18, 20238 min read

Gov. Mark Gordon and state Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle.
Gov. Mark Gordon and state Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

State Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, likened Gov. Mark Gordon’s carbon capture partnership with Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in an op-ed last week to, “Getting in bed with (President) Joe Biden’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.”

 The governor issued a firm response to Steinmetz in private and to Cowboy State Daily on Monday, describing her op-ed as “unimaginable caterwaul,” and her arguments hypocritical and misinterpreted.

Caterwaul Or Screeching? 

Steinmetz told Cowboy State Daily she received a surprising text message from Gordon in response to the op-ed, which he described her work as “a noise from a screeching animal.”

“I was surprised the governor took a clear policy disagreement so personally,” Steinmetz told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “I am a conservative and he is not. And I guess he takes offense to that.”

A spokesperson for Gordon told Cowboy State Daily that Steinmetz misinterpreted the governor’s text message.

“Senator Steinmetz misinterpreted the text exchange, much as she misinterpreted the governor's work to support Wyoming’s critical industries,” said Ivy McGowan-Castleberry, a spokesperson for Gordon, on behalf of the governor. “The text said the governor was ‘not surprised that the piece was such an unimaginable caterwaul.’”

Federal Handouts

A press release promoting a memorandum of understanding between Wyoming and Colorado mentions how the federal government has established several significant incentives and competitive grant opportunities to engage carbon capture projects.

Steinmetz wrote in her op-ed that efforts like these are counterproductive for the state and are the cornerstone behind Gordon’s desire to pursue carbon capture.

“We must answer the plea to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets rather than use it against them to participate in the global green ponzi scheme,” she writes.

Steinmetz’s point is an argument made by many conservatives in Wyoming, like the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, which posted Steinmetz’s op-ed on Twitter with the message: “When Governor Gordon goes woke, Wyoming goes broke.”

Gordon Claps Back

The state senator’s husband, Corey Steinmetz, a national committeeman for the Wyoming Republican Party, accepted federal money for his business during the COVID-19 pandemic. He received $34,153 in federal COVID-19 relief grant money in 2020 for his insurance company.

The governor’s office referred to that as one of “several double standards” in Steinmetz’s op-ed.

“Apparently, accepting federal funding is permissible when it directly benefits a member of the senator’s family but not when pursuing technologies that will help our foundational mineral industries,” McGowan-Castleberry said.

Gordon’s office said it considers accepting federal money as a way of seeing a return on taxes the state pays to the federal government when there is a pressing need.

“Our coal miners, oil and gas developers and power producers deserve the same support as the businesses of the senator’s family and the residents of her district,” McGowan-Castleberry said.

Also pointed out in the governor’s response was the millions of dollars in loans and grants directed to the Goshen Irrigation District, which is located in Steinmetz’s community. This money was used to help repair an irrigation canal that had originally been built with federal money. 

“Would that be considered ‘getting in bed with the Biden administration?’” McGowan-Castleberry questioned.

Steinmetz said the governor’s response to her comments amounted to a personal attack.

“Yet again, the governor resorts to personal attacks rather than dealing with the fact that he cozies up to the mega multinational corporations shoving the Green New Deal down Wyoming’s throat,” she said. “Comparing helping the citizens of Wyoming through a disaster that affected families and livelihoods to his eco-gambit, is offensive and downright wrong.”

Larger Forces At Work

Steinmetz said the biggest threat facing Wyomingites is federal funding of local projects that “implement disastrous policies.”

She mentioned a recent Title IX proposal from the Biden administration that takes a more lenient stance on transgender girls playing in girls sports than a recent law passed in Wyoming, a new Bureau of Land Management proposal that allows for recreational leasing on federal lands, and Biden’s support for the Green New Deal and his 30x30 land use plans.

“The list goes on and on and on,” Steinmetz said. “These policies and projects are being implemented right in our own backyards and communities, often by well-meaning souls who just can’t see the bigger picture or state policymakers chasing federal dollars.”

Steinmetz believes these efforts are part of a giant money laundering scheme to destroy the middle class and transfer generational wealth for the benefit of “powerful puppet masters” and “global elites.”

 “The global elites are those that want to control every aspect of our lives,” Steinmetz told Cowboy State Daily. “They want to tell us how to live, how we are allowed to worship, how to raise our children, how to use our land and water. In Wyoming, our elected officials must defend our way of life every single day-not compromise with these elitists.”

What Does The Partnership Do?

The MOU is largely a joint commitment between Wyoming and Colorado to continue pursuing carbon capture efforts. It also gives the states a green light to create a working group to explore carbon capture efforts together.

The bipartisan partnership signed by Gordon and Polis aims to explore the potential of carbon capture to complement existing and future industries while boosting economic growth and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in both states. Both states have been actively pursuing carbon capture projects in recent years.

The agreement focuses specifically on “direct air carbon dioxide capture (DAC),” a method of carbon dioxide removal in which the gas is captured and then either permanently stored in geological formations underground or reused in other industries.

In her op-ed, Steinmetz criticizes the practice of carbon capture as she believes it could take away valuable carbon dioxide from plants. 

“While Sweden abandons failed policy around net neutral carbon emissions, and the United Kingdom wants that immediate transition away from fossil fuels is impossible,” Steinmetz writes. “In Wyoming, the state that has the most to lose, Governor Gordon is doubling down by joining forces with Colorado’s far left-leaning, Governor Polis to sell the air.”

Gordon has been a longtime proponent of carbon capture and has consistently promoted an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, supporting traditional fossil fuels along with green energies like wind and solar.

“Without carbon capture for our coal-fired and gas power plants, the future of coal will face a far more challenging future,” McGowan-Castleberry said. “Wyoming must demonstrate the courage to lead on these types of advanced technologies.”

In June, Gordon took over as chair of the Western Governors’ Association. The carbon capture partnership was one of his first acts as WGA chairman.

Other Complaints

Steinmetz also criticized Gordon’s decision to veto a bill during the 2023 legislative session that would have prevented private companies from condemning private property for wind energy collector lines.

“When a government subsidized private-for-profit company working with your neighbor can condemn your property for their own benefit, do you really have any private property rights?” Steinmetz questioned.

Gordon said in his letter explaining the veto that he was concerned with the nine-year moratorium the bill would have placed on the ability to use eminent domain as a last resort, as it would “unreasonably stall wind development in Wyoming and limit the opportunity of property owners who seek to develop wind on their property.” 

“Eminent domain has been, and remains, a delicate and problematic issue, which should only be deployed as a last resort because most often one party always prevails at the other’s detriment,” Gordon said. 

Steinmetz said the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee will study the topic of eminent domain during the interim session. 

She used the example of sacrificing private property for eminent domain as an example of global elites desiring to monetize everything.

“We must have the courage to say these things are not for sale at any price,” Steinmetz writes.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter