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Gordon speaks about energy in his State of the State address 


Governor Mark Gordon held his State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 11, and he focused a lot on energy.

There was an apparent Wyoming versus the federal government mentality in Gordon’s speech.

“It's no exaggeration that the Biden administration appears more interested in partnering with Saudi Arabia and Venezuela than they are with Wyoming,” he said.

Gordon was referencing America’s partnerships with foreign countries for oil and gas. In his opinion, energy production in Wyoming should be ramped up. However, domestic crude oil production is at an almost all time high right now.

Gordon emphasized the state needs to make its own energy decisions as much as possible. He highlighted a bill dealing with the up and coming rare earth mineral industry.

“This legislation will allow Wyoming to permit and regulate parts of the rare earth and critical minerals industry,” Gordon said. “And I urge you to support that bill.”

He added that the bill would give Wyoming the authority over shaping the industry, rather than the federal government. The hope is this would bring more business to the state.

Sourcing rare earth minerals – such as uranium – is time sensitive, as it is a critical ingredient to the development of the TerraPower proposed nuclear plant in Kemmerer. Currently, the project is delayed in order to find U.S. sources of uranium, rather than importing from Russia.

Gordon also touched on climate change, saying that “change and innovation are inevitable.” But with that, he emphasized that Wyoming can hold on to its bread and butter – the fossil fuel industry – while also addressing impending climate change.

“Wyoming has eight coal fired plants. They power about seven and a half million homes…it's undeniable that coal remains a vital fuel source for our country,” he said. “But the minds in Washington D.C. all seem to want fossil fuels to go extinct. The good news is that we're making progress with carbon capture technology.”

Gordon said he is hopeful Wyoming’s investment in carbon capture and storage technology will make fossil fuels sustainable in a warming world. However, some see the technology as too expensive and untested.

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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