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Wyoming Lawmakers Consider A Regulatory Framework For Carbon Credits

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Wyoming Business Council

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Minerals Committee heard a proposal to assist carbon capture companies during its meeting Thursday. It would involve taking a closer look at carbon credits and how they're regulated.

Carbon credits are permits that polluting companies can buy to offset their carbon emissions. Currently, the credits are sold in a free market by carbon capture companies who sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Wyoming Business Council Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Kipp Coddington, director of the University of Wyoming's Center for Energy Regulation and Policy Analysis testified before the committee.

They suggested setting up technical assistance or grants for companies looking to get into the carbon capture market. That market often has costly and time-consuming barriers to entry, which could be alleviated with the assistance.

"We're not looking at anything that remotely resembles cap and trade or set pricing or anything like that," Fitz-Gerald said. "We are strictly looking at: how can Wyoming businesses better leverage what's going on in the private sector to sell carbon credits to folks who want to buy carbon credits?"

Right now, there are multiple exchanges that businesses looking to buy or sell carbon credits can operate in, but Fitz-Gerald said there are "inefficiencies" in and between those exchanges.

"Each of those exchanges has different sets of definitions for what a carbon credit is," she said.

Fitz-Gerald proposed establishing a regulatory framework for buying and selling carbon credits. Such a framework could, for example, decide on definitions.

John Robitaille, director of the Carbon Asset Network, also testified during the meeting. He said a regulatory framework in Wyoming would be the first of its kind and could form a blueprint for other states or the federal government in years to come.

The Joint Minerals Committee will next meet in November in Rock Springs.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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