Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead spent little time discussing energy issues in his state-of-the-state speech Wednesday, but he did call out coal’s role in the resource-rich state, which has substantial natural gas and coal supplies.
Mead said that his team is “preparing a broad energy strategy” for the state, that if approved by the legislature would provide a plan for “the responsible development of our natural resources that makes it a priority to balance our energy, economy and our environment.” The governor also cited efforts by state officials working on collaborative efforts with other states to expand the use of natural gas vehicles.
A set of initiatives developed last year by Mead’s policy adviser, Shawn Reese, included potential development of liquefied natural gas production for use in oil/gas fields and transportation (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16, 2012). The initiatives have been fully vetted by stakeholders and the general public, the governor’s spokesperson told NGI after the speech. In the next few weeks, Mead plans to use the initiatives and the feedback to articulate a 2013 energy strategy, the spokesperson said.
“We also continue to lead the country in state regulation of hydraulic fracturing, and we have pursued litigation against the federal government in order to protect the state’s interests [in energy, environmental and health care],” Mead said.
In noting coal’s $1 billion annual revenue contributions to the state, Mead called attention to a woman coal miner he met during a tour of a Campbell County, WY, coal mine last year.
“She told me her work helps build Wyoming, and powers the country providing jobs for many others,” Mead said. “Her story isn’t unique; it is the story of coal.” The woman’s mother also worked the mines, and he said the coal workforce collectively “represent that by their work they help provide 42% of the electricity generated in this nation. They represent what coal means to all of us.”
Mead also told the audience that “unlike the federal government,” Wyoming has to “live within its means,” which will necessitate budget cuts across the board.
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