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Wyoming Draft Energy Policy Eyes LNG

An infrastructure to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) may be one of the initiatives to emerge from a developing process in Wyoming to forge a deeper, broader energy-environmental foundation, according to Gov. Matt Mead's policy director.

In previewing a state energy strategy last week, Mead indicated that the draft document, which is getting input from the energy industry, environmental groups, landowners, the agricultural industry and others, will be "continually updated with new initiatives and progress reports." A list of draft initiatives is to be posted on the governor's website Nov. 27.

The potential development of LNG production for use in oil/gas fields, transportation and elsewhere will be among those draft proposals, Policy Director Shawn Reese told NGI on Wednesday.

"We're really keenly interested in LNG opportunities for our energy sector and the equipment they operate, which right now is using a huge amount of diesel," said Reese, "and for the transportation industry, both rail and trucking."

Reese said this is an outgrowth of the work Mead has been doing with other governors on a multi-state initiative to expand use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) (see NGI, Nov. 14, 2011). "We're trying to create the demand so the private sector can follow up with supply and the NGV infrastructure," Reese said.

"We think there is great opportunity to do the same thing with LNG, particularly as the [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] EPA cuts down on diesel standards in the coming years. That initial initiative may be to hold a summit and talk about the opportunities and impediments with respect to infrastructure, technology and regulations. From that summit would hopefully come more tangible steps that the state can take for growing that opportunity in Wyoming."

Mead urged stakeholders to keep working with Reese and others in his office to identify "tangible projects, proposed policies and state agency actions that create a model where energy, open spaces, working agricultural operations and economic growth all thrive."

Reese explained that despite having only a fraction (fewer than 600,000 citizens) of the U.S. population, Wyoming accounts for 10% of the energy needs in the United States. Mead said the broad, more flexible, constantly evolving strategy "should lead to good jobs and a strong economy by providing affordable, abundant and reliable energy."

Reese said the state values "being a leader in anticipating what regulatory needs will be in the future. We want to chart our own course, so we have regulations that are nimble but address the needs of the citizens and are cognizant of our unique geology."

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