To the editor:
Conservatives across the country have long supported an "all of the above" energy policy. This approach not only aligns with conservative free enterprise principles but also promotes consumer choice, free enterprise competition, economic development, and job development.
In 2018, Mark Gordon campaigned on an "all of the above" state energy policy to become Governor of Wyoming. Over the past five years, Governor Gordon has actually delivered on that promise by implementing a series of actions that have resulted in Wyoming emerging as a state leader in both traditional and emerging market energy development. This has led to impressive results in economic development and job growth across the state.
Despite its low population, Wyoming is third largest energy-producing state in the country largely because of the state's consistent policies encouraging responsible energy production. Most of that energy, of course, is produced in the form of coal, oil and natural gas. Wyoming should remain proud of the state's critical role powering the country by maximizing domestic energy resources. At the same time, Wyoming must also position itself as a leader in emerging energy resources as well.
As county commissioners, we prioritize economic development that results in jobs that are located and remain in Wyoming. Wind energy used to be inefficient and account for a minuscule portion of our energy supply. But through technological advancements, wind energy is now a major player in the U.S. energy market and Wyoming is a leader in this emerging industry. Wind energy projects, and the resulting power lines, are major construction projects that generate quality jobs in our local Wyoming counties. For example, construction just began on the TransWest Express Transmission Project- a privately funded $3 billion power line that starts in Carbon County and will facilitate electricity produced in Wyoming to be shipped to out-of-state markets.
Governor Gordon's focus on making Wyoming a lead player in emerging energy sources does not end with wind energy. Governor Gordon has also pressed for Wyoming to become a leader in nuclear energy development as well. State officials are working with nuclear reactor manufacturer TerraPower to build Wyoming's first nuclear reactor. The investment to build one of the world's most advanced nuclear reactors is expected to exceed $4 billion, an enormous economic windfall to Kemmerer, Lincoln County and the state.
Governor Gordon should be commended for establishing Wyoming as a key leader in energy innovation as well. Wyoming is pushing technological advancements in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology. These technologies have existed since the 1970s, but radical environmental groups and the EPA have effectively ground this development to a halt. According to the Payne Institute for Public Policy, "One of the biggest challenges new [carbon capture] projects face is the EPA's slow permitting process,". This move by far left environmental groups has essentially stifled innovation in an area that would be highly beneficial to traditional energy production across Wyoming.
Governor Gordon stopped waiting for the EPA to act on these technologies and instead put Wyoming in the driver's seat. Wyoming took the permitting for underground carbon storage projects away from the EPA and placed approval authority in the hands of Wyoming officials. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming thanked Governor Gordon and President Trump for empowering the state and bringing decisions about carbon capture "closer to on-the-ground development. Now major coal, oil and gas producing states - including West Virginia and Texas - are racing to catch up with Wyoming, to take over carbon capture permitting from the federal EPA.
As county commissioners, we commend Governor Gordon for not only campaigning on an "all of the above" energy policy but actually delivering on that promise. To remain a leader in U.S. energy development, Wyoming must not only continue to support traditional energy production but also insert itself as a leader in emerging energy resources. Governor Gordon and other state leaders have done exactly that and these specific actions will benefit the Wyoming economy for years to come.
Sue Jones, Travis Moore, John Espy, John Johnson
Carbon County Commissioners