Wyoming requires a "balanced approach" to protect the state's wildlife and environment while allowing for all types of energy development, incoming Gov. Matt Mead said Wednesday.
"We are small in number but strong in our contribution to this country, and our voice should be heard," Mead said. "Challenges to our ability to manage our wildlife, to produce our energy, to regulate our water and air quality, should not go untested. We demand a balanced approach that protects our beautiful state yet allows for mineral development."
The citizens of Wyoming, he said, "from those interested in conservation to those interested in development; those Wyoming people, us, it is we who should have the debate and make the decisions for Wyoming."
For the state's oil and natural gas producers, as well as the coal industry, Mead said he would support "research and development of carbon capture and sequestration technology...
"I am skeptical about man-made global warming without more and better science, but I am not skeptical about growing demand by our energy customers for cleaner coal and gas, and I am not skeptical about our oil industry's need for carbon injection technology for enhanced oil recovery."
Improving technologies would "provide a benefit to companies and help them remain profitable."
Wyoming is on the cutting edge of many of the technologies, the governor noted. He pointed to the University of Wyoming's partnership with GE Energy to test coal gasification technologies, as well as the proposed coal-to-liquids plant planned in Carbon County by DKRW Advanced Fuels.
"Technology will help keep our energy industry competitive," said Mead. "I would look favorably on legislation sent my way to foster science and commercial applications...remembering that advances in energy technology will only occur if energy companies remain profitable."
To create jobs and diversify Wyoming's economy, "we should build on Wyoming's natural advantages -- our energy, [agriculture], tourism and great workforce. We should not just extract and export our energy, we should look for value-added projects that use some of our energy here.
"For example, our superb wind resources partner well with natural gas-fired turbines which fill out the energy stream during lulls in the wind. We should develop both wind and gas-fired turbine projects, where possible. I support current efforts for those working on such projects."
Mead acknowledged that there will be a "healthy debate about wind issues" over property rights, taxation and eminent domain. "I hope legislation that balances all the interests and keeps Wyoming competitive will reach my desk this session."
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