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Energy Services Anxious Ahead Of A Biden Administration

Stevenson's Hyrail Services, LLC early on during the pandemic
Cooper McKim

Local businesses serving the energy industry in Wyoming are expressing anxiety over expected policy changes from President-elect Joe Biden.

Cevin Iemus, owner of Land Surveying, Incorporated in Gillette, said he expects his bottom line to be greatly impacted by this election. He's thinking about Biden's potential ban of oil and gas permits on federal land. For now, Iemus expects a surge of new permits and activity to outrun those changes, "but it's going to take a quick turn and go downhill."

"Because once the current leases run out, and there's no federal grounds to stake wells or infrastructure, because they're shutting down. Federal leases will dry up and run out of work," Iemus said.

An employee at an auto and electrical service business said he expects businesses to start closing down around Gillette.

Jerry Stevenson owns Stevenson's Hy-Rail Services LLC, which relies on oil and gas activity out of Douglas. He said he's a Trump supporter, but the priority now is on handling the pandemic.

"If the virus is defeated, then businesses will improve," he said.

The owner of a field service and truck repair shop in Douglas said they're just going to have to survive it. He added he's sick of the fighting and hopes everyone can quit arguing and get back to work.

If oil and gas activity does see a major decrease under Biden, Land Surveying Inc.'s Iemus said he'll have to think about diversifying his business.

"We've seen some influx with using drones and, you know, spreading our wings a little bit on how we capture our surveys and how we can do more surveys," he said

A report from Moody's Investors Service recently predicted the decline of coal would likely be faster under a Biden administration, though the downward trend would likely have also continued under a second Trump administration. According to the Bureau of Land Management website, BLM Wyoming is number 1 in federal onshore gas production and number two in federal onshore oil production.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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