Policy Plan Includes Building Infrastructure, Localizing Decision-Making & Driving Innovation
Cheyenne, Wyoming – With an eye towards protecting and promoting Wyoming’s energy industry long into the future, Treasurer Mark Gordon released a series of policy positions aimed at expanding export markets for Wyoming’s natural resources, localizing decision-making, streamlining regulations and driving innovation.
“Wyoming’s energy industry has long been the backbone of our economy and has served our state, people, communities, businesses and schools tremendously well,” Gordon said. “As the industry and markets change, so must Wyoming and how we approach protecting and promoting our natural resources.”
Gordon’s Power WYO Forward platform was released today and includes policy and regulatory proposals to foster and grow the state’s energy sector. Policy positions include:
- Building Infrastructure to Export Wyoming Resources
- Driving Advanced Energy Technologies
- Streamlining Regulations
- Localizing Decision Making – Working with Federal Agencies
- Streamlining & Aligning State Energy Resources
- All of the Above Energy Policy – There is Room for It All
Gordon noted the important role energy and natural resources will continue to play in Wyoming’s economy for years to come. He said the opportunity before us as a state is positioning Wyoming in such a way to capture more of the value chain than just the raw materials we have relied on in the past.
“Diversifying Wyoming’s economy and maintaining and advancing our core mineral industries are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go hand-in-hand,” said Gordon. “Wyoming will continue to be an energy state for years to come, so it is our responsibility to not only be a part of the future of the energy sector – but to drive it.”
Gordon’s Power Wyo Forward policy plan can be found below.
POWER WYO FORWARD
Policy Priorities to Advance Wyoming’s Energy Economy
Building Infrastructure to Export Wyoming Resources
There are tremendous opportunities for Wyoming coal, gas and other minerals and natural resources abroad. With continual roadblocks coming up with terminals on the West Coast of the United States, Mark is committed to exploring alternative means of exporting Wyoming energy.
As Governor, Mark will pursue opportunities with other sovereign funds, including the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation to explore building infrastructure to export Wyoming’s high-quality minerals.
In addition, Mark has positioned the Treasurer’s office to be able to invest alongside private sector investors to build pipelines and important infrastructure to export Wyoming resources. Wyoming benefits tremendously from infrastructure that helps us get our gas and oil to market more efficiently and effectively, so investing in private-sector endeavors or supporting them with bonds to do just that is a win-win. As Governor, he will work to streamline permitting and right of ways to expedite infrastructure development.
Driving Advanced Energy Technologies
For more than thirty years, Wyoming has been the nation’s leading producer of coal. And coal continues to supply approximately 30% of the electricity in the nation. It is America’s most plentiful energy resource. With such a powerful, in-demand resource at our fingertips, Wyoming should lead the way on research innovation to ensure its responsible future use. Coal not only provides enormous benefits for accessible energy but can help create and drive new markets. Coal is part of the solution.
As Governor, Mark will work to position Wyoming as the leader in advanced energy technologies including Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and new carbon-to-product markets. We’re seeing promising research come out every day that shows the potential for turning carbon into marketable products we can make money off of – like petrochemicals, asphalt and plastics.
The Wyoming Integrated Test Center is a terrific example of what is possible through public-private partnerships. Recently, as Treasurer, I was proud to finalize a $15 million state loan to Atlas Carbon for the expansion of their activated carbon plant. They are using PRB coal to create an entirely new market producing activated carbon to use in air and water filtration systems.
This is just the beginning of Wyoming leading the way on energy innovation. As Governor, Mark will pursue additional public-private partnerships, which have a proven track record of success in Wyoming in enhancing the market for our mineral resources.
A study just released this month by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University looked specifically at regulations in Wyoming in 2018. They found that the 2018 Wyoming Administrative Code contains 99,566 restrictions and 5.4 million words. This means it would take an individual seven weeks – nearly two months – to read the entire code. Utilities, chemical manufacturing, oil and gas extraction and mining face more than 17,000 restrictions alone.
The sheer volume and breadth of our current policies is stifling not only our energy economy, but manufacturing, agriculture and many different industries important to our state. How can we possibly expect individuals and businesses to be able to successfully navigate these different layers of restrictions to remain in compliance? We can do better.
Mark believes that regulations ought to be around incentivizing people to do the right thing, rather than penalizing them for doing them wrong, As Governor, Mark will work to drive a shift on the state and federal level towards regulations that reward people for a doing a better job – be it through expedited permitting, faster response times, or other incentives. The free market can, and will, address many of the environmental concerns that come with energy production, but we have to give them reasonable room to do so.
Localizing Decision Making – Working with Federal Agencies
Part of addressing the cumbersome regulations and restrictions Wyoming faces is strengthening relationships with federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. Wyoming’s leadership on things like sage grouse has been extraordinary, and it is nice to see the BLM is starting to follow Wyoming’s lead. Wyoming people, Wyoming leaders need to be empowered to make decisions. The progress we have made needs to be recognized and respected. Our solutions are durable and effective. Let’s let them work.
With the amount of federal land we have in Wyoming, and the difficulty we face in citing anything on these lands, it is critical for the next Governor to leverage action with a strong relationship with the BLM and other federal agencies to expedite these processes and keep projects moving.
Streamlining & Aligning State Energy Resources
Streamlining and better aligning Wyoming’s energy agencies and resources will not only better serve taxpayers, but business – energy producers, innovators and those adding value to the chain. Mark is committed to ensuring the state does more with less to direct people and companies to the resources Wyoming already has in place.
All of the Above Energy Policy – There is Room for It All
Be it oil, gas, coal, uranium or wind, when it comes to natural resources, Wyoming has it all. As a lifelong conservative, Mark believes strongly that the market should pick winners and losers when it comes to energy sources – not government.
Mark sees renewables like wind as additive to our energy economy, not a detractor. Several new projects proposed for Albany, Carbon, Converse and Uinta counties have the potential to bring immense investment and job opportunities to many communities in southern Wyoming, but development should proceed thoughtfully.
But to really unleash this potential, Wyoming must address transmission capacity, and the lengthy regulatory process that accompanies infrastructure development. Regulation should be based on common sense, be respectful and efficient. This is part of lifting the regulatory burden that Wyoming faces. Wyoming has seen companies working on permitting for more than a decade. This is unacceptable and counterproductive to growing our economy and promoting our natural resources.