Noting that he hopes to stir more activity among federal agencies, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead on Monday unveiled a broad state energy strategy with 47 separate initiatives that over time he hopes to narrow in focus. The initiatives, many of which have existed in draft form for more than a year, make up what Mead called “a living document” that will change over time.
In response to questions from local news media, Mead said he hoped federal agencies in Washington, DC, will take note of what Wyoming has done, trying to create a framework to balance energy and conservation needs in a state that leads the nation in exporting energy.
“I can’t say clearly where the agencies in Washington, DC, are on this,” Mead said. “But we are surely going to send copies of this to the Departments of Energy, Interior, Fish and Wildlife, etc. In the state, I can say that our federal partners that have been working with us are certainly aware of what we have been doing.
“We hope that in Washington, DC, they will take a serious look at this, and see that Wyoming is serious about being proactive on these issues, and we’re looking for better ways to do things. We hope they can take a cue from us,” he said, adding that he has been pushing for some time to have federal agencies be more proactive on the issues.
Mead called the strategy “a big step,” noting it was harder to complain about the lack of a federal strategy when the state had not put one together. “Now we have one, and we certainly hope they [the federal agencies] take a hard look at it, and see that we are doing some remarkable things here.”
The strategy groups the initiatives under four broad categories:
In the latter category, Mead stressed that in oil and natural gas production, coal and uranium, Wyoming has global interest in advanced technologies that eventually can be exported.
Mead said he continues to believe there will be increased demand for renewables, principally from California, and Wyoming is anxious to help fulfill some of that demand, but fossil fuels will continue to be a major factor for the state and the nation.
“Oil, gas, coal — the traditional fuels — will still have to play a vast majority of the energy role, but in California, with a renewable portfolio standard of 33%, the demand for those renewable energy projects will continue to increase. If there is a market for it — call it California — and we have the ability to produce it, I think we should be looking at producing it [wind energy] for them.”
The initiatives detailed in the 33-page strategy are broad, but not unmanageable, Mead said. “It is a heavy lift, but it is do-able.”
While still in draft form, the strategy had identified the production of liquefied natural gas as one of the many new initiatives Wyoming might pursue (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16, 2012). Mead was silent on that proposal Monday, but he did stress that he expects the state strategy to be “continually updated with new initiatives and progress reports.”
Policy Director Sean Reese, who has overseen the more than two-year effort to articulate the strategy, said the state will hold a series of “energy roundtables” over the rest of the year to further flesh out what existing state agencies can do to address the initiatives and what areas will require new legislation.
Mead and Reese both stressed that the majority of the strategy can be implemented without new legislation.
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