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Energy industry leaders respond to Mike Pence’s visit to Cheyenne 

Vice President Mike Pence
Amr Alfiky

Following former Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at an energy conference in Cheyenne last week, several industry leaders welcomed his thoughts.

Pence stressed the importance of oil and gas production and pushing back on the ‘radical left’s’ climate agenda at the Rockies Petroleum Conference.

Tom Van Kleef is the executive vice president of Oil Mountain Energy, which he describes as a “mom and pop” oil company based in Casper. He spoke to Pence during a question and answer session.

“Our industry is under attack, not least of which because of the mistaken idea that alternative energy is a substitute rather than a complement for the essential energy that we provide,” Van Kleef said.

Pence responded saying that extractive energy is Wyoming’s bread and butter and that it cannot be replaced with renewable energy – rather renewables can complement it.

“Look, I'm an all of the above guy,” Pence said. “We've got to have an all of the above energy strategy.”

Pence said President Biden’s recent climate legislation favors environmental concerns too heavily. But many experts have said President Biden’s recent climate legislation gives incentives to both the fossil fuel and renewable industries.

Others in attendance at the conference stressed the need to find a middle ground between the needs of the fossil fuel industry and concerns for the climate.

“We, as industry professionals, need to provide a broader understanding to folks so they understand how energy can be responsibly produced in Wyoming,” said Daneka Ewart, an environmental manager for Peak Energy, which has oil and gas operations in the Powder River Basin.

According to the federal government, about a quarter of all pollution in the country comes from fossil fuel production.

Ewart said she feels Wyoming does produce a lot of its energy responsibly. For example, Jonah Energy, which operates in Sublette County, was awarded a ‘gold standard rating for low emissions’ by the United Nations’ Oil and Gas Methane Partnership – making it the first company in the U.S. to receive the recognition.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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